Definitions for cordials seem rather contradictory. Dictionary dot com defines one as “a strong, sweetened, aromatic alcoholic liquor or liqueur;” others describe a sweet, nonalcoholic fruit concentrate. My favorite definition comes from Merriam Webster: “tending to revive, cheer or invigorate,” and is associated with cordial waters. It seems the most fitting for this rhubarb cordial. It is brightly flavored, sweet but not overly so, softly tart, and silky. I had a glut of rhubarb this morning, so my cooking from this single pot actually yielded two cups of rhubarb sauce, three cups of rhubarb compote, and three cups of rhubarb cordial. I’ll be posting sister recipes in the coming days. In the meantime, sip on some rhubarb cordial. It’s made a rhubarb lover of even the most skeptical in our house. In fact, we’ll be celebrating our Honey Girl’s homecoming after a year away at college with a rhubarb champagne tipple tonight. It’s almost as pretty as this spring day. You may pour a dram of the cordial into a glass of Prosecco and serve it with brunch or as an aperitif. Stir it into some homemade plain yogurt for breakfast. Stir some into a pitcher of homemade lemonade for a spring picnic. Or mix it with water, still or sparkling, for a refreshing springtime cooler.
3 ½ pounds rhubarb, diced into ½“ cubes to yield 9 c.
4 ½ c. water
3 c. sugar
- Place the diced rhubarb, water, and sugar in a large pan and bring it to a simmer over high heat, stirring briefly until the sugar is dissolved.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the fruit is breaking down and any remaining pieces are very soft, about 15 minutes.
- Allow the rhubarb to cool in the pan. Reserving two cups to later make into rhubarb sauce, strain it over a large bowl or pan. Be gentle here and allow the rhubarb to drain naturally. If you smash or try to rush it, you will end with rhubarb pulp rather than rhubarb compote. Stop the draining process when the rhubarb remaining in the strainer is still appealingly juicy. If you would like an especially clear cordial, strain the liquid a second time through a jelly bag.
- Using a funnel, pour the cordial into clean bottles or jars with tight-fitting corks or lids. It will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks.
With brunch or as an aperitif, pour a dram into a glass of Prosecco.
For breakfast, stir some into homemade plain yogurt.
For a spring picnic, stir some into a pitcher of homemade lemonade.
Or mix it with water, still or sparkling, for a refreshing spring drink.