courtesy of Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen
A cordial is an infusion in the liqueur family (sweeter spirits) that includes cremes and distillations.* Historically, they were opportunities to use up a bumper crop of fruit or preserve a harvest; today, I think of them as a way to celebrate seasonalityIngredients
1 pound (450 grams) rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 1/2 cups (830 ml) gin, plus more if necessary
3 wide strips orange zest
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
3 tablespoons (45 ml) Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or triple sec (to serve)
A splash of club soda, tonic water, or sparkling wine (to serve, optional)Method
- Put the rhubarb, gin, orange zest, and sugar in a clean 2-quart (2L) jar. Cover and shake to encourage sugar to dissolve. Store in a cool, dark place, shaking it every few days, for a month. [This recipe is intended for room temperature. My kitchen runs hot and I had it in the fridge, instead, for a couple weeks longer.] After a few days, if some of the rhubarb is still floating above the level of the liquid, add another pour of gin, enough so that the rhubarb is covered.
- Use a fine-mesh strainer to strain the liqueur into a large measuring cup or bowl with a spout. Add the Grand Marnier. Pour into a clean bottle (or bottles) and tightly cork. Store the cordial for up to 1 to 3 months longer. Apparently, you can wait this full 1 to 3 months to drink it, for proper aging. We, absolutely, did not.
- To serve, pour into small tumblers with a few ice cubes, a twist of orange or tangerine peel, and a splash of sparkling water, tonic, or sparkling wine, as an apéritif.