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Rhubarb cordial recipe

Carlton Boyce / 19 May 2015

How to make rhubarb cordial - an ideal way to use up older, larger rhubarb stems which can be made into a refreshing drink or drizzled over ice cream.

Rhubarb cordial
Rhubarb cordial

We always have a glut of rhubarb at this time of year and no matter how much we poach, freeze or make into jam there is always more than we can eat.

We used to get round this problem by having rhubarb for pudding every day for a month, which was great for the first few days but the appeal tends to wear off pretty quickly…

Then we discovered a recipe for rhubarb cordial and our problem was solved. We still cook with the lovely young and tender stems but anything that has got a bit too big gets turned into this delicious cordial.

This recipe can be adjusted to suit the amount of rhubarb you have. For every kilogram of rhubarb you use, add 100ml of cold water during cooking, and once cooked and strained add 500g granulated white sugar per litre of extracted juice.

Try these delicious recipes for rhubarb desserts

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  • 1kg rhubarb (or multiples thereof)
  • Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger (optional)
  • Granulated white sugar


1. Wash the rhubarb well, chop into inch-long chunks and place in a large saucepan.

2. Peel, slice and add a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger per 1kg of rhubarb to the pan. It’s not essential but it does add a gentle heat to the finished drink that we love.

3. Add 100ml of cold water to every 1kg of rhubarb.

4. Bring to the boil with the lid on and let it simmer until the rhubarb is soft and pulpy. This doesn’t take long, so keep a close eye on it, although it’ll be fine as long as it doesn’t catch and burn. When the rhubarb mixture is soft, remove from the heat.

5. Line a large sieve or colander with a clean tea towel or piece of muslin and place over a large bowl or jug. Tip the fruit and liquid in and put it in a cool place to drain overnight.

6. Measure the liquid that has drained off. Add 500g of granulated white sugar per litre of liquid and warm slowly to dissolve. (You can compost the rhubarb solids that are left.)

7. Once the sugar has dissolved, dilute a bit with water and check for sweetness. Add up to another 200g of sugar per litre if it needs it, dissolving with heat as before.

8. Pour into sterilised bottles and cork firmly. Label and keep in a cool place (we use the fridge) for up to three months.


To serve, just dilute to taste with water or use it as the base for a delicious smoothie. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, add a dash to a gin and tonic for a fruity twist on a classic drink.

Try this recipe for rhubarb chutney

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