Gin has enjoyed a bit of a resurgence over the last few years hasn’t it?
Even some of the most staunch gin-haters seem to have had their heads’ turned by the weird and wonderful flavours that are coming onto the market.
There are new artisan distillers popping up, left right and centre, and gins are infused with everything from seaweed to ants.
Yep; you did read that right. Ants.
But I’ve never had a go at making my own flavoured gin, before now.
I’ve left the ant’s nest alone, mind you.
My gin is flavoured with something a little more palatable.
The Spoils of Summer
We’ve had a bumper crop of rhubarb again this year.
The high temperatures and lack of rain don’t seem to have made a jot of difference to my grandad’s old rhubarb plant and — if anything — we seem to have had more fruit than usual.
Generally, I’ll make my rhubarb cordial recipe a couple of times throughout the summer but, this year, there’s such an abundance of rosy stems, I thought I’d try my hand at making Homemade Ginger and Rhubarb Gin as well.
Now, I’d like to say that the ginger was homegrown too but I’d be lying! I used one of my favourite store-cupboard essentials; Opies Stem Ginger in Syrup.
It’s one of the most versatile things we have in the larder and we use it for all sorts of things — both sweet and savoury. It’s brilliant in cookies, stir fry, steamed pudding.
I’ve even used it to spice up a Hot Toddy. But, up until now, I’ve never used it in an alcoholic drink.
Rhubarb and ginger is such a classic combination — a match made in heaven — and combined with gin, it’s like heaven in a glass.
Homemade Ginger and Rhubarb Gin Recipe
You will need:
350g jar of Opies Stem Ginger in Syrup
6 ripe stalks of rhubarb
300g caster sugar
1 litre bottle of inexpensive gin (I used Gordons)
A muslin cloth for straining the liquid through
A little bit of patience
1. Wash the rhubarb and cut into little chunks.
2. Chop up all of the stem ginger balls into thirds and pop into a saucepan, followed by all of the the syrup from the ginger jar.
3. Add the rhubarb, the water and the sugar to the pan and stir together on a low heat.
4. When the sugar has dissolved and the rhubarb is beginning to soften, take off the heat and leave to cool.
5. Once cooled, pour the mixture into a sterilised Kilner jar or similar. We popped ours into the oven on a low heat, to sterilise them, but you can wash them in boiling water too and that will do the trick.
6. Pour the gin over the top of the ginger and rhubarb mix. Pop on the lid and leave to steep for one week.
After seven days, taste the mixture and if it’s gingery enough for your palate, remove the stem ginger from the jar and pop the lid back on.
This really is down to personal preference — I LOVE the heat of ginger so a week was perfect for me. It may be that you try it every couple of days until it reaches the flavour you like. Or add less to begin with…
7. This is where a good dose of patience comes in!!
It’s really hard not to just dig in and drink it all; but if you leave it alone for 4-6 weeks — for the rhubarb juices to mingle with the gin and ginger — it really is worth it.
8. I managed 4 weeks until I caved in and decanted it!
I passed it through a muslin cloth, into a jug. Once it’s passed through the cloth, the liquid is clear and rosy.
9. Finally, pour your homemade ginger and rhubarb gin into a pretty bottle.
10. Serve with tonic or soda water (or neat) with plenty of ice. And enjoy.
Et Voila — Homemade Ginger and Rhubarb Gin
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Opies Chinese Stem Ginger in Syrup is available from Tesco and all other good supermarkets. This post is in partnership with Opies as part of their #FreeTheGinger campaign.
Although this is a collaborative post all thoughts, words and images — as ever — are entirely my own.