Cordials are fruit-based concentrated drinks that are diluted with water before being consumed. Homemade versions are easy to make and don’t have any additives like the commercial brands do. Lemon, lime, orange, raspberry and elderflower are some of the popular ones. Rhubarb cordial is my favorite. If you’re lucky enough to have a rhubarb patch in your backyard or access to one, you’ll have it all throughout summer. Rhubarb cordial has a gorgeous pink color and looks fab in drinks. Try a splash of it in the bottom of a champagne flute topped with champagne or prosecco or mixed with tonic water, vodka and ice. Serve this at your next soirée.
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10 stalks rhubarb, roughly chopped
3 cups water
juice of 1 lemon
2 cups sugar
peel of 1 lemon, removed with a vegetable peeler
2 or 3 star anise (optional)
In a saucepan, place rhubarb, water, star anise and lemon peel. Simmer for 20 minutes or until rhubarb becomes very soft and falling apart. Skim off any foam. Remove from heat, strain and discard the pulp. Pour rhubarb juice back into saucepan and add sugar and lemon juice. Stir to dissolve sugar and bring to a boil for 1 minute, remove from heat and cool. Keep refrigerated. Serve 1 part cordial with 3 parts still or sparkling water and plenty of ice.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: This will keep up to a week in the fridge but you can add citric acid (a natural preserver) to extend the shelf life of the cordial. A lovely drink to stay cool during the heat of the summer. Enjoy!