How to make Rhubarb Cordial

Pouring champagne into a glass with rhubarb cordial

Although rhubarb is technically a vegetable, rhubarb is more commonly used in baked goods, desserts or as a breakfast compote. I make rhubarb cordial as a treat, it has a vibrant pink colour that makes it appealing to children; most often with a splash of sparkling water to add a fizz. Adults may enjoy adding it to their favourite evening tipple; a glass of bubbly or a make a pink gin.

I have my own take on how to make rhubarb or any fruit cordials. My method allows you to control the sugar content and balance of sweetness that you like. I prefer to cook the rhubarb and strain before adding the sugar, starting this way allows you to control the sweetness sugar content. You can save the unsweetened pulp for smoothies, baking or add to a breakfast compote. As a rule, I like to eat all parts of many vegetables, but rhubarb leaves are toxic and cannot be consumed.

In late spring, elderflower cordial is a seasonal favourite, perfect to make ahead for Christmas and the ideal homemade gift.

glasses of rhubarb soda with a bottle of rhubarb cordial

How to make Rhubarb Cordial


Makes approximately 750ml

  • 500g Rhubarb, leaves removed
  • 150 – 250g caster sugar
  • 1 litre water
  • 1 grapefruit or orange, zest and juice
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 10g or 5mm slice of fresh ginger
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp arrowroot/tapioca power – optional

Trim off rhubarb leaves, wash and roughly chop the stems. Zest and juice the grapefruit or orange and juice half a lemon.

Put all the ingredients into a pot with a lid and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the rhubarb is soft and pulpy. Strain though a fine sieve and return to the pot, add 150g sugar and taste, keep adding until you are happy with the sweetness. Simmer with the lid off until the syrup has reduced to about 1/3.

If you would like a thicker syrup, make a slurry of arrowroot powder mixed with a small amount of cold water. Pour a little into the pot of rhubarb cordial and stir until it thickens. Repeat until the syrupy. Decant into a sterilised bottle, once cooled, refrigerate. It will keep for up to 2 months.

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