Cooking, Drinks
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Recipe: Homemade Rhubarb Cordial

Rhubarb Cordial

Homemade Rhubarb Cordial

Homemade Rhubarb Cordial

There is a lot to be said for the sunshine and a big bright sky. It brings cheer after a long harsh winter – and I know I haven’t experienced most of it – but London has become a dour place, and it seems as though as a city, it has been suffering from a severe Seasonal Affective Disorder.

So, what joy the sun brought with its big sky and warm sunshine. Everyone was cheerful and the parks were full. I was inspired to cook something bright and joyful. I wanted fruit and I wanted a refreshing non alcoholic drink. My mind turned to rhubarb cordial.

I love homemade cordials, I have one in my book and make many at home all the time. I finish them off with sparkling water and ice and sip as I work. After work, they sometimes end up in a cocktail.

The cordial I made is a fresh version to be consumed within the week. If you want to preserve it so that it lasts a few months, use citrate (also called citric acid) in place of the lemon (1 teaspoon for the recipe quantity below). Citrate is available in pharmacies generally although no longer in the UK, you can however order it online.

I used bright English rhubarb, not forced rhubarb but normal stuff. It was a lovely bright pink, if broader and tougher than its slender cousin. After a brief period of cooking, the cordial mixture is allowed to strain gently through a fine mesh sieve (or some muslin), releasing the bright pink cordial and leaving the darker fruit fibre behind. This incidentally, is great mixed in with yogurt for breakfast.

This recipe also works really well when you combine it with blood orange or rose extract when you are cooking the rhubarb. I make both, and adore them.

Enjoy! This is so easy and is really so delicious. The vibrant flavour and colour are something that you don’t get in the shop bought stuff, unless you are buying an artisanal one (which is also homemade, just not in your home :)

RECIPE: Rhubarb Cordial

Makes 400 – 450 ml
keeps for a week in the fridge


400g rhubarb, chopped into 1 inch segments
250g light brown sugar
500ml water
juice of half a lemon


Bring the water, sugar, rhubarb and lemon juice to the boil. Simmer for about 5 – 10 minutes, until the rhubarb has turned to mush. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.

Leave to strain gently through a sieve or muslin lined funnel. Leave it at least 6 hours or overnight for best results. It is best to leave this in the fridge if you can. Don’t force it, just let the juice come out naturally.

And that is it. The leftover fruit is very sweet but is good mixed in with yogurt for breakfast. I love this cordial with sparkling water but it is great for cocktails also. Recipes for those soon!




  1. Just letting you know that
    “citrate (also called citric acid)”
    You can get in home brew shops or in supermaket home brew sections and wilksons stores too. In the UK.

    cheers for this going to give it a go!

  2. I find it is even better if you make the stock syrup, put the 1″ rhubarb pieces, lemon juice and the syrup into a ziplock bag (or better still vac pac it), and put that bag into some very lightly simmering water [or waterbath @ 82C] for about an hour. You get a clearer liquid because it has not been battered about, and less starch comes out into the liquid. You can just pour off the cordial gently through a fine sieve, rather than an overnight filtering, and the rhubarb pieces themselves are perfectly cooked and usable for something else. A single piece of star anise in the bag is great, too.

    • Yes, I do enjoy star anise with rhubarb but want this to be a pure rhubarb flavour. I actually am exploring a sous vide piece separately too as a comparison. Great minds etc! Still, important to publish the at home on the hob recipe as not everyone has a sous vide kit :)

  3. Nol says

    am def going to make this at the weekend Niamh – sounds delicious x

  4. How beautiful. I need to keep this in mind… once our rhubarb in the yard gets a little bit bigger. At the moment it is just peeking out of the ground… understandable when you think that last week it was still covered with snow…

  5. andreamynard says

    This looks wonderful and quite simple to make, definitely going to try it. I’m nearly out of last year’s elderflower cordial and love rhubarb so fab idea!

    • I actually prefer it, as much as I love elderflower. The elderflower is late this year too. Enjoy!

  6. Hoorah! Garden raided, large stems, lots of flavour. Ermington Sustainable, had rhubarb at 50p a bunch, smaller, I guess this will be different in taste. Cordial and compote being made as I type this.
    Compote is for porridge (tomorrow) and white chocolate panna cotta(tonight), smaller stems used.
    I also picked up a whole trout for £4 caught by a fly fisherman, big bag of Chard and welsh onions for £1 Today is my lucky day. Who needs the supermarket? Also picking Jack by the Hedge (nice leaf, worth getting to know) and Wild Garlic.

    • I hope you enjoyed! Also love jack by the hedge, nice and subtle. It is a great time of year to forage.

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  8. Your timing is immaculate, as the first stems of our allotment-grown rhubarb are beginning to look very harvestable. Ta!

  9. Just wanted to say thanks as made this last night and it’s great. Summer in a glass, this must be the best taste-to-effort ratio recipe ever!
    Have you ever boiled sweet cicely with rhubarb? Apparently it allows you to really reduce the sugar content. I’m going to give that, plus maybe a vanilla pod, a try in the next batch.

    • Great to hear! Have heard that but not done it. Personally, I don’t think the rhubarb needs vanilla, I love it on its own. It works very well with blood oranges though, make rhubarb and blood orange cordial every spring.

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  11. marie says

    Just after making this!! Thanks for the recipe!! It’s mother’s day here in Germany on Sunday, it gave me the idea to find a nice bottle and gift my mother in law the rhubarb cordial with a bottle of prosecco. Zingy zangy combo!! Keep up the great work , excellent blog!!!!!

  12. that looks delicious and really refreshing. we were actually given some rhubarb prosecco to try at our local farmers market on saturday, which was rhubarby, fizzy heaven. Im definitely going to give this a go. loving yr blog and tweets

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  14. Cathy says

    I had rhubarb cordial last spring in a pub, while hiking in the Peak District. It was refreshing. So I’m eager to try your recipe — it’s just starting to boil. Across the Atlantic, in Canada.

  15. jade taylor says

    You can get food grade citric acid from ebay dead cheap.

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  17. Mavis says

    preserving your cordials is easy just use sodium metabisulphite availabe online home brew shops etc it is used in food making and winemaking to prevent oxidation and fermentation you will need a tiny amount it will kill all live yeasts .

    • Hallo! Thanks for that. I use citrate, also available in home brew shops, but I stock up in the pharmacy when at home in Ireland :)

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  21. Liz Mayers says

    I found a similar recipe in a book which gives it the name Rhubarb Sharbat. It is of Middle Eastern origin and uses a lot more sugar. Beautiful. Liz

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