Easy to Make Pink Rhubarb Gin Recipe
How to make homemade rhubarb gin! This lovely pink rhubarb gin recipe uses just three simple ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions. Enjoy the gin neat, in rhubarb gin and tonics, or in gin-based cocktails.
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Rhubarb is cheerfully making a comeback as a popular crop for the kitchen. If you have space, I highly recommend growing your own. It’s easy and like most crops, when you look away from the supermarket shelves, there’s a huge variety available.
You can grow rhubarb from seed but they rarely grow true. The easiest way is to plant crowns which is the root of the plant that survives over winter. The best time to plant rhubarb crowns is from November to December when they are dormant. One of the best ways to start a rhubarb patch is to ask one of your neighbours if they’re planning on dividing their rhubarb. You dig up the mature plant in winter and using a spade, chop the crown into quarters. Take one of these chunks and pop it into the ground with some compost or well-rotted manure.
Growing Rhubarb Takes Time
It’s important not to harvest any of the rhubarb stems in the first year as the crowns need time to establish. Harvesting them prematurely will result in weak plants and could kill them off. If you like your rhubarb, then I’m afraid the first year is a bit of a tease – but it’s definitely worth the wait. Cut off any flowers that appear and after a few years, you should have a plant that will reward you with a plentiful supply of stems each spring.
Rhubarb is a perennial and requires very little in the way of maintenance. Each autumn I mulch the plants with a decent pile of organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure and leave them tucked up in their winter bed until the following spring.
Make Rhubarb Gin With Pink Stems
In the UK, forced Rhubarb, which provides early, delicate pink stems, is famously produced in large dark barns within a nine-square-mile area of Yorkshire, commonly known as the Rhubarb Triangle. At one point, this area produced 90% of the world’s forced rhubarb. Production declined following the end of World War 2, as a rationed-out British public lost the taste for rhubarb – a crop that served them so well during the war – for more exotic fruits and vegetables that had become more accessible.
You can produce your own forced rhubarb if you have established rhubarb plants in your garden. To do this you can buy beautiful bespoke terracotta pots. However, they are not necessary and you will get the same result by placing an upended bin or pot over the plant in winter and leaving it in place until the following February.
Popular Rhubarb Varieties
If you love these tart crimson stems, and if you have space, you could plant a few different varieties and enjoy an extended period of harvest. Timperley Early is one of the earliest varieties to grow – a popular choice for forcing too. Livingston is certainly a variety to consider as a late cropping treat as it produces its stalks in the autumn.
Do not cut rhubarb stalks as this can encourage rot. Instead, grab hold of each one near the base and give it a pull. It gives a delightful ‘pop’. And never take more than half of the plant’s stalks at any one point as the other half will provide full leaves and enable the plant to feed the roots and develop next year’s crop. Don’t be tempted by the leaves of rhubarb. Despite their incredibly lush quality, they are toxic with oxalic acid. Cut them off and add them to the compost pile.
Using Rhubarb in Recipes
When it comes to using rhubarb in the kitchen, you won’t go far wrong with simply stewing or poaching the stems and serving them up with a generous dollop of ice cream or custard. It’s certainly a favourite way of enjoying the homegrown rhubarb in our house.
And hit it up with some flavour too. Orange, vanilla, pear, coconut, almond, ginger, strawberry and lemon all work well with rhubarb. However, If you like a drop of gin and fancy creating a bottle of your own to share with friends, I’ve discovered an easy and incredibly delicious way to use some of that rhubarb up and create what I believe will be your new favourite tipple.
Sweet & Mellow Rhubarb Gin Recipe
After 4 weeks, the rhubarb gin is ready. The liquor will be clear and a beautiful pink in colour but you can strain it through muslin if you want even more clarity. It looks fantastic poured into small glass bottles and would make a lovely gift to give to a family member or friend.
The juice from the rhubarb along with the sugar makes for a sweet and mellow taste and I’ve found it easy to enjoy poured straight over ice. Or you could make for a longer drink by adding soda water or your favourite tonic. However, for an extra special summer occasion, top up your homemade rhubarb gin with chilled prosecco. Cheers.
More Rhubarb Inspiration
Easy Pink Rhubarb Gin Recipe
- 1 Kg Rhubarb 2.2 lbs or about 7¼ cups
- 1 L Gin About 4¼ cups, and no need for a premium brand, but not one with complex botanicals
- 400 g white sugar 2 cups
- Remove the leaves, wash and trim the rhubarb stalks.
- Cut the stems into 3cm pieces and put them in a large jar with the sugar.
- Seal the lid and give the rhubarb and sugar a good shake to thoroughly combine. Leave overnight.
- After 24hrs, the sugar will have drawn out a lot of juice from the rhubarb. Add the gin, seal the jar, and give it another good shake. Leave for 4 weeks giving the jar an occasional shake.
- After four weeks, the rhubarb gin is ready. The liquor will be clear and a beautiful pink in color but you can strain it through muslin if you want even more clarity. The rhubarb pieces can be eaten, but watch out, they will be boozy.
- Bottle in clean and sterilized glass bottles and use within six months.
Richard Chivers is passionate about growing fruit and vegetables on his family allotment garden. His blog, Sharpen your Spades aims to inspire anyone to pull on their wellies and join in the movement to grow their own.
First of all, I enjoy your site! It’s fun learning how someone half way around the world gardens. You make me tired just reading all about the projects you’re involved with. We live in Idaho, US. Summers are hot & dry. Right now we have the most wildfires burning in the U.S. I made the pink Rhubarb Gin. I only had green stemmed rhubarb so it didn’t turn out as pretty as yours. I’m ready to bottle & am wondering if I could make a rhubarb custard pie with the boozy fruit?
Absolutely! Don’t let that tasty fruit go to waste :) Stay safe, Rosemary! I’m a little late in replying to your comment as we’ve been away on holiday. Hoping the worst is over for you!
This sounds great. What size jar did you use to make the gin and what size bottles work well for decanting it into?
Hi Sharon, for the infusion you’ll need a container that can hold the ingredients — so about 3.5 Liters or Quarts. The bottles that the gin was decanted into are these ones. They’re a little pricey individually but you can use any sterilized glass bottle. Recycled bottles from supermarket food will do :)
Hi there. I’m looking forward to making this but have a question before I do. I’m thinking of using an empty gin bottle I have to store this in. Will this, and the original bottle top need to be sterilised first though? If so, could you advise on the best way to do this please as I’ve never done this before. Thanks!
Hi Tracey, and yes, it’s best to sterilize the bottle but a good clean with soap and hot water is fine as well. The easiest way to do it is to run the bottle and top through a normal dishwasher cycle.
Thank you Tanya! It’s so lovely to take the trouble to reply and so quickly too. Looking forward to your wildlife pond video :-)
This is the 2nd year I have made this. It is wonderful. We use it as a Gin and Tonic with a little bit of sweetened Lime Juice. Very refreshing. We did perk ours on the countertop, and gave it a swirl every time we walked by throughout the day, but once strained we keep it is smaller bottles in the refrigerator to keep fresher.
When you add the gin, do you take the rhubarb out? When does the fruit come out?
When does the fruit come out?
At the end of four weeks, you strain the gin and eat the rhubarb as a boozy treat :)
Should this be kept refrigerated?
It’s probably best, but the alcohol preserves whatever liquids are inside. It can keep for many weeks or even longer if left unrefrigerated.
Does it need to sit in the fridge while infusing?
On a counter-top is perfectly fine.
I am sooo making this! Just wondering how long it will keep? Thanks for the inspiration!
I’d use it within six months. Enjoy the recipe!
Awesome, thanks so much!!
Could a little bit of fresh ginger be used as well as rhubarb or would that spoil the flavour?
I imagine that ginger would be a tasty addition. If you end up trying it out, please let us know how it goes?