This month in the Tigresses’ Canning Challenge, the secret ingredient is rhubarb (or asparagus); I made things from both ingredients before I left on the trip, and brought the pickled asparagus spears with me in the hamper on the train, and it was delish.
And sadly, like the idjit I am, I did not write down the recipe before leaving.
That said, I did write down the recipe for the base of this cocktail, I did can it, and it did come out so well, it will be featured at the annual barbecue here at the Hut. I highly recommend you make this cocktail (if you are so inclined and do not have abuse issues), but you do not have to can the cordial to make the cocktail; it will probably keep for a several weeks in the ice box without processing it.
Anyway, as you may recall from last month’s challenge for herbs, I paired lavender with rhubarb and it was a winner. I wanted to do something similar for this month’s challenge, but not have it be jam. Last month, there was an entry for Rhubarb and Angelica cordials from one of the British food bloggers, Laundry Etc., that really intrigued me. So, in short I built my entry this month upon the success of her entry last month, and the research I did on the lavender-rhubarb jam I made last month.
The secret to working with lavender is to get the right amount of flower-power in your product without going too far. If you add too many lavender blossoms, you really do end up with something that tastes like very good soap — and I had my mouth washed out enough as a young ‘Grain to know.
So let’s get on with it, shall we?
We will start by making a simple syrup with the lavender blossoms. This syrup alone is worth the price of admission, and you can use it for all sorts of wonderful things. I had a little left over and used it to glaze some pork chops, and they were amazing.
- 2 Tablespoons organic lavender blossoms
- 2 Cups granulated sugar
- 1 Quart water
- Put the lavender blossoms in a tea ball, pour the water into a non-reactive pan and add the tea ball. Let it sit overnight. It will turn the most lurid color you’ve ever seen.
- The next day… remove the tea ball and add the sugar to the lavender water. Bring the syrup to a boil. When the sugar is completely dissolved, remove from the heat.
- You can take a break now or you can soldier on with the rhubarb. It is up to you!
- 1 pound of rhubarb, trimmed of all leaves, and diced fine
- 1 quart of water
- the completed lavender syrup
- Boil the carefully prepared rhubarb in the quart of plain water for about 15 minutes.
- Strain the rhubarb from the water, and discard the rhubarb, saving the water. The rhubarb has done its duty and can safely go to the compost heap.
- Mix some of the rhubarb water with some of the lavender syrup. I found that about 2 parts of rhubarb to about 1 1/2 parts of lavender syrup worked out well. You may want to play with the proportions.
- If you are going to can the cordials, now is the time to do it. Please follow the instructions at the Tigress’s joint. I processed the mixture for 10 minutes, and it made 5 pints.
OK, here’s the pay-off. This drink is so different from any other I’ve ever made, it falls into a class of its own.
The rhubarb-lavender cordial is very sweet on its own, and has an herbal finish to it, so it is a natural to use a good, flavorful gin to bring out even more of the herbal qualities. You again will need to adjust this to your own preferences. For one cocktail…
- Fill a very tall glass with ice, preferably some crushed.
- Put in two parts of gin and two parts of the rhubarb cordial. Admire the color.
- Add a dash of bitters. I prefer orange bitters, but use whatever you have.
- Fill the glass with tonic water.
- Enjoy and admire your work. Responsibly.
Here’s some label artwork I designed for it:
The butterfly cracks me up!