How To Make {Homemade Rhubarb Cordial}

My grandad — who sadly passed  away a few years ago — was a really keen gardener.

His vegetable plot was long and wide but the soil quality poor and jet black.

Nan and grandad’s house was built near a coal mine and the earth in his garden was almost like coal dust; I’ve never seen anything like it before, or since. You’d almost think that it would be too arid to sustain the growth of any plant life but year in, year out, my grandad grew the most wonderful runner beans, beetroot and rhubarb.

Whenever we went to visit, we’d always end up taking home a bag of whatever was in season; plus a jar of my nana‘s marmalade, pickled beetroot or pickled onions.

For which she was legendary.

So when grandad died and the house had to be sold one of the things I wanted to take — as a memento — was a rhubarb plant .

We have it in our garden now and my grandad would be so proud to see it growing there.

Homemade Rhubarb Cordial
This year’s crop of runner beans; grown from the seeds of my grandad’s original bean plants!
Homemade Rhubarb Cordial
Some of grandad’s rhubarb, happily growing in our own veggie plot
Homemade Rhubarb Cordial
Fresh rosy stalks, waiting to be picked :)

Each year, we’re treated to an abundance of rosy tinged rhubarb; cut some stalks and they’re quickly replaced with more.

Which sometimes means that we have a glut of it — and there’s only so much rhubarb crumble that one girl can eat!

We recently bought some delicious Mr Fitzpatrick’s Rhubarb and Rosehip cordial from our local farmer’s market and suddenly realised that this is exactly what we could be doing with our own rhubarb.

With a little bit of guesswork we managed to create the perfect mix.

Homemade Rhubarb Cordial
The magic ingredients for our homemade rhubarb cordial — just add water!
homemade rhubarb cordial
Sunshine is optional ;)
homemade rhubarb cordial
Freshly picked and waiting to be transformed!

To make some delicious homemade rhubarb cordial you’ll need:

  • 500ml water
  • 500g of golden caster sugar
  • The juice of 1 large orange plus the zest and some of the rind
  • The juice of 1 lemon plus the zest
  • 6 stalks of fresh rhubarb

The method is deliciously straightforward too! Super simple and very quick.

Chop the rhubarb into nice chunks then boil it up in a pan with the orange and lemon juice, plus the zest and rind, until the rhubarb is soft and breaking up.

Then add the sugar. My preference is golden caster because it has a lovely caramel flavour but any would do — I used plain old granulated the first time and that worked nicely too.

Bubble the mixture until the sugar has completely dissolved.

Leave to cool then strain* the mix into a bottle or jug.

*We couldn’t be bothered to wait for it to strain though a muslin. If you did have the patience for this, you’d be rewarded with a beautiful clear liquid. We just used a sieve and — as a result — our cordial is cloudy.

But hey — it still tastes amazing!!!

NB: Life’s too short for waiting around for homemade rhubarb cordial to strain through a cloth! MUCH nicer to be sat in the garden drinking it :)

Serve with plain water, sparking water or — ahem — Prosecco (depending on what time of day it is). And a liberal helping of ice.

Or you can even turn it in to an amazing cocktail!!

Delicious homemade rhubarb cordial


I suppose (as this is a recipe) I should be able to tell you exactly how long to keep the cordial for, but my boy and I haven’t managed to keep any for longer than two days (greedy goblins). We’ve tried to hazard a guess and we reckon that a week — in the fridge — would be a fair estimate.

One last thing I should mention! The strained rhubarb makes THE most amazing compote. Perfect when served with creamy greek yoghurt or ice-cream. Pop it in a sealed tub in the fridge and it will stay good for a week or so.

If you can manage to keep it that long ;)

Plus, if you’re feeling like you’d like something a little more ‘substantial’ — for want of a better word — why not make Rhubarb, Strawberry and Ginger Eton Mess? This lovely recipe is a twist on a classic and absolutely delicious.

Pin ‘how to make homemade rhubarb cordial’ for later…


About Caro Davies

Caro Davies art directed fashion and interiors before leaving the world of design to pursue a career in social media. She can now be found chasing the light — and two small twin boys.

103 thoughts on “How To Make {Homemade Rhubarb Cordial}

  1. I love that you took your Grandad’s rhubarb plant – food can evoke such lovely memories. These photos are gorgeous – and you are right – there is some gorgeous bokeh there! Thank you SO much for linking up to #iotw, great to have you here xx

    1. Funnily enough, we tok more than the rhubarb. His lovely old shed — that he built himself in the 1940s — was being demolished so we bought home the bits we could salvage and now it forms our raised beds!!

      That’s an entirely different blog post though ;) Thanks so much for hosting — I hope I can join in again :)

  2. Wonder if it would be good with vodka? I am not sure what Prosecco is. But this looks like it would be delicious. What a beautiful memory you have of your grandparents growing in your garden. I wanted a rose bush of my grandmas after she passed but my aunt (who got the house) said no. So now I have planted rose bushes everywhere and every single one that blooms reminds me of her. Thank so much for hosting #TwinklyTuesday.

    1. I’ll tell you what — it’s AMAZING with gin!!! ;) We made a cocktail on the weekend — blog post to follow this week!! I would imagine Vodka would be just as good :) Prosecco is like Champagne (only not grown in the Champagne region) fizzy, white wine. Lush with rhubarb cordial!! ;)

  3. We kept tulip bulbs from my grandads house when he died. It’s a lovely idea! That cordial sounds lush. I used to eat rhubarb raw as a child. I bet it was drank so quickly and prosecco? Yea!!! Xx #twinklytuesday

    1. So nice to have a lasting reminder isn’t it? The cordial IS lush!! I wasn’t able to give an exactly time on how long to keep it for cos it doesn’t last longer than a couple of days in our house :)

  4. What a clever idea, I would never have considered making my own compote!! We will finally have a garden in a few weeks and I really want to try growing things. Maybe herbs to begin with but love the idea of having my own little patch xx

  5. Love this! We have rhubarb in our garden too! Usually use it for a crumble, but I am going to try this, fabulous! xxx #twinklytuesdays

    1. Aah Ellie — we’ve been eating crumble for YEARS and trying to think of ‘other’ things to do with the rhubarb!! To be honest, we can’t get enough of this cordial! It’s SUCH a fab way of using it :)

    1. That’s exactly how I was feeling about it!! There’s only so much pie or crumble you can eat without getting a little fed up — but this cordial is AMAZING!! :) So delicious. And we made a cocktail with it too!! Recipe to come this week ;)

  6. Love the sound of this – I love rhubarb crumble but it’s always nice to have other ideas of what to do with rhubarb so will have to give this a try. Love the idea of using the leftover rhubarb as a compote too :-) #twinklytuesday

    1. It’s a winner Louise — so simple to make too :) And the ‘leftovers’ are SO delicious! makes me wonder what people who make compote usually do — do they throw the juice away?! ;)

  7. Yummy!! I love rhubarb, but I don’t see it much these days. It is such a traditional fruit, and I had it a lot when I was younger and with my Nan and Pop. Nan used to cook with it all the time. The cordial recipe sounds very interesting. Never heard of rhubarb cordial! #TwinklyTuesday

    1. You’re so right — it IS a really traditional fruit (or is is veg?!). Although I’ve seen it recently in the supermarket which was rally weird! I’ve only ever seen it growing in the garden before!! :)

    1. Aah thanks so much Rachel — that’s absolutely lovely of you!! It’s a bit of trial and error to be honest; one of the days I’ll learn how to work the camera properly and really get to grips with what I’m doing!! ;)

    1. Aaah thanks so much Amy — that’s so sweet of you :) Yep, I can say that the addition of Prosecco is a good one ;) And gin too!! ;) We created a cocktail on the weekend — recipe to follow in a couple of days!

  8. Mmm! I love rhubarb and that drink sound delicious. Love the photos! It is really great that you kept your grandad’s plants alive. I can imagine how special that is. My grandad used to grow it too. That and black currants. Thanks for hosting #TwinklyTuesday

    1. HA!! That’s so funny!!! I took the blackcurrant bush too!!! :) And his lovely old shed was being demolished, so we rescued the wooden planks that made up the floor, and now they are raised beds in our garden! :) My grandad would be SO chuffed :)

    2. HA!! That’s so funny!!! I took a blackcurrant bush too!!! :) And his lovely old shed was being demolished, so we rescued the wooden planks that made up the floor, and now they are raised beds in our garden! :) My grandad would be SO chuffed :)

  9. Just acquired 2 rhubarb plants. There not ready yet but I’ll def be making this next year!! great post #TwinklyTuesday

  10. Looks delicious Caro. And the colour of it! Bottled sunshine! Ian’t it just so satisfying making your own preserves from home grown food? With the connection to your Grandad there too, that’s brilliant.

    1. Aaah thanks Fionnuala!! It IS like bottled sunshine! I didn’t even think the stalks were that red but the colour of the cordial is amazing! We made pickled beetroot last year from the garden produce — they were amazing! :) Yep — I love the fact that we’re still getting rhubarb from grandad’s plants :) It would have been an even saddler loss if we’d have left the plants at their old house! x

  11. Your pictures sell me this drink! If I manage to bribe the toddler into a trance with something on the TV I will give it a try! Rhubarb and lemons, yum :) It will be shop bought though our mini gardeners got a bit too keen with the watering and subsequently, the plants died.

    1. Aaah it is SO delicious — it really is. It has that lovely tangy rhubarb flavour but is so sweet and very, very moreish. Shame about your plants — I’m sure that shop bought will work just as well! xx

    1. Without question — it mostly certainly would. The lemon juice helps with preserving but the orange was in the fridge so I thought I’d throw it in!! To be honest, the recipe could change to suit you. I will add some star anise the next time I make it — I think that would have really been a good addition :)

  12. Great post brought back memories of my Grandmother with her rhubarb pie and her famous mint sauce #Twinkly Tuesday

  13. Taking a plant from the garden is really such a lovely thing to do and it looks beautiful in your very pretty looking garden. You’ve taken some really lovely photographs here. I love rhubarb, so this cordial would be right up my street! xxx

  14. I don’t like the texture of rhubarb at all, but I like the taste, so I think I could definitely get on board with this cordial! x


  15. This sounds lovely! I disagree with you on the rhubarb crumble, I could eat that day in day out! It’s amazing how you can keep regrowing things. My neighbours, who must be in their 80s, grow rhubarb which used to be grown by HIS dad, now that must be really old!

    1. Haha!! I got SO sick of rhubarb crumble a couple of years ago. We were literally eating it every other day! And yep — I totally agree — these plats must be about 50 or 60 years old!! It’s amazing! :)

  16. I love this post! I’m a very keen homegrower myself though sadly have never been good at rhubarb, even though I love eating it. Luckily the next door neighbours had a glut this year so gave me several armfuls, but there is only so much stewed rhubarb you can take so this recipe is perfect.
    Your post also spoke to me because I remember my grandparents through gardening; runner beans in particular! It’s lovely to remember them in such a practical way.

    1. It’s so odd — we have never really done anything to grandad’s rhubarb — it seems quite happy where it is — I think the trick is well drained soil and a nice sunny spot! Definitely make some the next time your neighbour gives you a load — I only used 6 fairly small stalks and it made a whole bottle! :)

  17. Despite not liking rhubarb, your photos make it look so enticing! They’re brilliant :) also what a beautiful thing to replant your grandad’s rhubarb plant in your own garden :) Mim x #twinklytuesday

  18. How special to have a piece of Tour Grandad like that. As soon as I saw the rhubarb I had to read your post as it brought back special memories of my grandad. He grew lovely rhubarb too! #twinklytuesday

    1. It’s such a fab thing to make with it :) I wish my grandad was still here so he could try it. Thanks for your lovely comments re the photography! Am just finding my way around the camera! :)

  19. That looks amazing and we have lots of rhubarb, must give it a go. What a perfect way to remember your grandad too! :) xx

  20. I love rhubarb will definitely be trying this one out :D thank you. I rescued my grandads honey suckle when mum sold their house after they passed so can completely relate and I am sure he will be very proud of your cordial. xx #TwinklyTuesdays

  21. This looks so delicious, and it’s so lovely that you have the rhubarb to remember your grandad! #twinklytuesday

  22. Your garden looks stunning – and what lovely continuity with your granddad’s garden too. Your cordial also looks beautiful. I miss our old rhubarb plant – clearly I should have taken it with me when we moved house! #TwinklyTuesday

  23. You have me salivating! That sounds delish. I would love some rhubarb crumble. I’m not sure I’m with you on there being a limit to rhubarb crumble consumption! The ONLY nice thing that came of my father’s endless affairs was that he had one girlfriend who made an exquisite rhubarb crumble! Rhubarb simply isn’t appreciated here in the US.

    And it’s extra-special that you have that connection to your grandfather every time you have some of the cordial. Thanks so much for being a lovely – and patient! – cohost for #TwinklyTuesday.

    1. It’s lovely Sadia — it’s weird isn’t it about rhubarb being quite a British phenomenon! My American friends had never tried it before they came to visit us!! Aah thanks for being such an amazing co-host! Don’t know what we’d do without you! :)

  24. This looks amazing and totally yummy. I love the idea that you have a number of plants in your vegetable garden that came from your Grandpa’s garden. That is lovely. My parent’s have a vine in their garden that came from a clipping from my Grampy’s garden. My Grampy used to make wine from the grapes on his vines. But my parents aren’t that adventurous. Hugs Mrs H xxxx

    1. Aaah I would SO be trying to make wine if I had a vine that produced enough fruit!! We had a huge grape vine covering the wall of our kitchen in Marlow but it never really produced very much, sadly! ;) xx

  25. I recently made this – with much less sugar to suit our tastes and it was delish – but far too much for us to use so I froze some in giant ice-ball maker to add to sparking water at another time. We found it didn’t freeze so well. More like a sorbet – and then wow! The flavour was even more intense and we have a new easy to make yet delectable desert for the summer. Thank you for sharing your recipe!

    1. Melanie!! You superstar — what a fantastic idea!! Thanks so much for letting me know — I might even do a dessert version on the blog if I get time this year. This is such a great adaption; thanks ever so much for taking the time to let me know. I really appreciate it :)

  26. Just come across this and want to try! Have you tried adding camden tablets to make it last longer? Just thinking i add that and citric acid when doing elderflower cordial…

    1. Hi Marnie! NO!! Although, weirdly, we were talking about Campden tablets just the other day!! Some elderflower cordial recipes use them and others don’t. I wondered if it made a difference to the flavour.

      In the case of the rhubarb cordial, I’ve never used Campden tablets — or citric acid — at all. We keep the cordial in the fridge but it never lasts that long before it all gets used up. The most we’ve managed to keep a bottle is 4 weeks, before we’re having to make more!! I’d be interested to know what the difference is. I might make a batch and see!

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