It’s rhubarb season in central Ohio! I like rhubarb in jam, strawberry rhubarb pie, and my grandmother’s rhubarb crunch. But my favorite way to enjoy this slightly sweet, floral, first “fruit” of spring is in a vodka infusion.
You might think I’m a lush but hear me out. Rhubarb is tongue-searingly sour and requires a lot of sugar or another strong flavor to temper the tart. Until I infused vodka with rhubarb, I had never truly appreciated the subtlty of the rhubarb flavor.
Making an infusion, with rhubarb or any other fruit, is dead simple. Chop or mascerate fruit in a clean glass container. Fill with vodka to cover all the fruit. Age in a dark place, tasting regularly, until the infusion matches your desired flavor. Strain out the fruit and enjoy the infusion as a mixer or on its own with fizzy water, a delightfully low-cal, high-zest drink.
In the case of rhubarb, I like to leave the infusion for up to two weeks. The clear vodka will turn a dusty red color and keep its piquancy for up to a year. The picture above shows the last of our 2011 rhubarb infusion, in one of my favorite jars made in Columbus Ohio, surrounded by the fresh rhubarb from the Greener Grocer that will make this year’s batch.
I am reserving some rhubarb to make into a shrub, a sweetened vinegar infusion. I suspect that the shrub method will show off the many characteristics of rhubarb much like the vodka infusion I hold so dear.
Do you like rhubarb? How do you prepare it?