Rhubarb, Ginger & Orange Liqueur

I was so pleased with the success of my fruit liqueur experiment at the end of last year that I was keen to try out alternatives throughout the season.  First up this year was the Rhubarb harvest.  Perhaps not the first  candidate to sprint to mind, but I was quickly reminded by the success of the Gooseberry Liqueur and set my reservations to one side.  Besides, I always have much more rhubarb than I can use, and if I could pull this one off then, heh, a unique Yorkshire tipple?  Brilliant… Again, this formed a bit of an experiment with 3 variations, all of which can be derived from this recipe.

  • Rhubarb, Ginger & Orange Liqueur – I have an image of drinking this on Christmas eve…
  • Rhubarb & Ginger Liqueur – Great for those winter evenings?  Just leave out the orange
  • Rhubarb Liqueur – More for comparison purposes.  Scientific roots coming out here – I feel the need for a baseline.  Just leave out the Orange & Ginger


  • 400g Rhubarb, finely sliced

    Rhubarb, Ginger & Orange Liqueur
  • 50g Root Ginger, grated
  • grated zest of 3 Oranges
  • 70cl Vodka (40° ABV or better preferred)
  • Stock Syrup to taste (approx 300ml)


  • In a sterilised Kilner jar, add the Rhubarb, Ginger and Orange Zest.  Use pickling jars or spirit bottles as an alternative
  • Top up with Vodka and shake well
  • Leave in a dark place for 3 months, shaking occasionally (I hide mine under the stairs…)
  • Filter off the solids into a bowl through layers of muslin.  Squeeze out any extra liquid
  • Filter again through a funnel lined with a couple of sheets of strong kitchen roll
  • Sweeten to taste using the cold stock syrup.  I found a ratio of 12 parts spirit to 5 parts syrup was just right for me.
  • TIP: Try experimenting in a small glass to get the proportions right then scale up for the full batch.  Be careful – you can always make it sweeter in the future, and the flavour will develop…
  • Transfer the liqueur to sterilized bottles and leave for another month (or longer if you have the will power) to mature.  This should allow any remaining sediment to settle out
  • If desired, siphon off into smaller bottles perhaps to give as Christmas presents! This tends to leave the cloudy stuff in the last bottle, which is a good excuse for you to get in there and drink some straight away.  After all, you don’t want those dregs hanging around now, do you?

Additional Comments

After the straining & sweeting stage, you get a great opportunity to ‘sample’.  It was clear to me that the Rhubarb Liqueur on it’s own was somewhat lacking by comparison.  However, the other 2 variants were terrific.  I urge you all to get some brewing now – you’ll get a batch just in time for Christmas and the cold winter weather!  Once again, my thanks goes to The Cottage Smallholder for providing the initial inspiration – Please check their blog out, it’s amazing! Want to invest in some Kilner Jars or some great presentation bottles?  I’ve had some excellent service from JamJarShop.com – a terrific range of products at excellent prices

Sampling Comments

Rhubarb Liqueur, bottled & ready for drinking!

The Rhubarb Liqueur is quite subtle.  It has a great pink colour and a slight acidity, but by itself it doesn’t really stand out.

...and the Rhubarb & Ginger

Add the ginger, and you get an amazing transformation.  Instantly warming, you get a superb balance in a drink which would be perfect for a winter evening.

...and the Rhubarb, Ginger & Orange

Add the orange, and surprisingly, the effect of the ginger is less pronounced, but the aroma given off by the zest continues to transform this drink yet again making this a very festive tipple.  One recipe, 3 very different effects.

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Johnny says:

    Thanks for your web page — fascinating! I just learned of Aperol and want to experiment. For years I’ve made rhubarb wine. It’s quite delicious but takes a good 18 months to develop mellowness. Instead of your straight maceration, I’m thinking of distilling the rhubarb wine (racked 2-3 times) rather than using vodka. This should assay out around 100 to 120 proof. Then infuse orange into the distillate for a month or two, strain through an activated charcoal filter (Brita), and adjust sweetness with a simle syrup.

  2. I make some kind of hooch for Christmas every year to torture my family and close personal friends (not because of the taste but the resulting bone numbing hangover) and this was my Vintage 2012! Went down a storm, you are the Hoochmaster Par Excellence! More please x

    1. I’m so pleased it went down well – it’s one of my favourites! I keep experimenting (some much more successful than others) and continue to post the more successful ones here. The process is more or less the same though, it’s just a matter of finding new ingredient combinations to throw on. I like to inflict bottles on my friends & relatives for Christmas too – this year’s experiment with the Chocolate Vodka was the latest success, but designed as a spirit for a cocktail. I’m going to make this again with some sugar to make a wonderful Chocolate liqueur.

      1. Sounds yum, will have a go at this for Easter, by then my liver should at least be able to defend itself again, in the meantime, your Beef Casserole recipe is beckoning…..

  3. daub says:

    What about honey, instead of sugar. Worth a try?

    1. I don’t see why not – the sugar is just there to sweeten so give it a go and let me know how you get on!

  4. Alice Scanlon says:

    Just bottled my Raspberry and Blackberry gins …… oh WOW, just WOW. Today I am going to use some rhubarb from the freezer and make a batch of rhubarb and ginger gin (know your recipe says vodka but since I have have a couple of bottles of gin in the cupboard, guess it will be ok. Love your recipes James.

    1. That’s great Alice, I’m so pleased these are working out for you! Gin or vodka – it’s all a matter pf personal taste, just keep experimenting!

  5. Alice Scanlon says:

    Hi James, for the Rhubarb and Ginger drink, you talk about stock syrup, how much sugar do you add to water to make the syrup? Thanks

    1. I use approx 4kg Sugar to 1 ltr water – this makes quite a lot so scale accordingly!

      1. Alice Scanlon says:

        Thank you James, will try that x

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