Homemade Rhubarb Cordial (Rhubarb Syrup) transforms sharp rhubarb into sweet & most refreshing drink. Simply dilute with either still or sparkling water to make delicious & thirst quenching beverage. Great in cocktails too!
This delicious Rhubarb Cordial is super easy to make and provides perfect drink solution on those hot days when just water simply won't do as you are after that little bit of lovely flavour in your drink. Shop bought cordials, squashes and syrups are more often than not loaded with unnecessary ingredients or artificial sweeteners which personally I like to stay clear of.
If you love homemade cordials, make sure to check out my Elderberry Syrup (Cordial) next.
Ingredients you need to make Rhubarb Cordial (Rhubarb Syrup)
Rhubarb - simply washed and cut into smallish chunks. I get my organic rhubarb via my veg box scheme but in season you can get it anywhere from supermarkets to farmers' markets to your own gardens or allotments.
Sugar - either caster (fine) or granulated sugar will do. Yes there is fair amount of it but as we are making cordial/syrup which will be diluted, this is necessary.
Lemon - for a little bit of acidity and added flavour. You could also use orange instead or both if you want. As we are using zest as well I would recommend you look for unwaxed lemons. However, if not available, simply pour some boiling water over the lemon which will loosen the wax and make easier to remove it with your veggie scrubbing brush.
Ginger (optional) - I like adding a little bit of grated ginger which will give you a very subtle undertone of flavour. For cordial with a bit of a kick you might want to increase the amount of ginger or if you are not fussed you can leave it out altogether.
Water - I like using filtered water in my cooking but tap water will do just fine.
Storing Homemade Rhubarb Cordial (Rhubarb Syrup)
My rhubarb cordial will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks although in our house with 4 of us drinking it, 700ml bottle/ 3 cups (which is roughly the quantity you get from this recipe) lasts 4-5 days.
If you have got large amount of rhubarb to process and would like for your cordial to keep for longer you can add citric acid* - preservative which will extend its shelf-life to several months. Citric acid can be purchased online or at your chemist's. Use 1 teaspoon for this recipe. You can of course double, triple etc. the recipe depending on the amount of rhubarb you've got and then increase the amount of citric acid accordingly.
Few extra tips!
Once you've made your cordial you will be left with substantial amount of rhubarb mush/pulp. You could of course throw it away but as I really hate waste I tend to use it with my porridge or over yogurt and granola. Admittedly, the mixture is quite sweet although if you choose to use grated ginger it will also have a bit of spice to it. The good thing is that with that, there is no need for additional sweetener like honey or maple syrup required on your porridge and it tastes really delicious! I highly recommend it!
All you really need is to decide whether you'd like to dilute it with still or sparkling water! For a bit of added flare pop few sliced strawberries in the glass or slice of lemon and some mint or basil, be creative! On a really hot day you might want to add some ice too!
To make a simple yet delicious & grown-up Summer cocktail use Prosecco or Cava instead of water! It's the way to go. Perfect tipple for garden parties!
Do I need to sterilise my bottles?
To store my rhubarb cordial I use the brown bottles with swing tops you see on the photographs which my hubby uses when he makes his home brew. If I only make a small batch like one or two bottles of cordial I must admit I do not bother sterilising them. All I do is wash them really thoroughly in hot, soapy water, give them a good rinse with hot water as well and use for my cordial.
However, I would recommend that you sterilise your bottles if you want to keep your cordial for longer as even small amount of invisible bacteria can spoil your efforts.
How to sterilise bottles?
First of all, wash them thoroughly in hot, soapy water and give them a good rinse (preferably in hot water as well). Preheat your oven to 160C/320F/Gas Mark 3. Place all your opened bottles on the clean baking tray and "bake" in preheated oven for 15 min. You might have to rearrange the racks in your oven to be able to fit your tray with bottles. Once the time is up, take the bottles out of the oven and fill them with rhubarb cordial as soon as possible. You will have to multitask here and make sure that your cordial has been strained and ready for bottling once they are out of the oven.
How to make Homemade Rhubarb Cordial (Rhubarb Syrup)?
Homemade Rhubarb Cordial (Rhubarb Syrup)
- 500 g rhubarb cleaned and cut into chunks
- 1 thumb size piece of ginger peeled and finely grated (optional)
- 1 lemon (zest & juice) preferrably unwaxed and organic (see notes)
- 250 g caster (fine) or granulated sugar
- 400 ml water
- Put rhubarb, sugar, grated ginger (if using), lemon zest, juice and water into large pan or stockpot and give them a mix.
- Put the pan on a medium heat and bring to boil. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes until rhubarb turns soft and mushy and sugar dissolves.
- Take the pan of the heat and prepare the bowl or large measuring jug you can easily fit the sieve on. Strain the cordial (syrup) through the sieve. I usually help to speed up the process with the spoon but if you are after a really clear syrup you might want to leave it be for a few hours as the syrup drips slowly into a bowl. Whichever way you choose, it does not affect the flavour!
- Pour the cordial (syrup) into prepared sterilised bottles (see above for details) and chill in the fridge.
- Dilute 50ml cordial (syrup) to 150ml water.
- Enjoy with some ice!
- Nutritional values are approximate, per serving (50ml of undiluted cordial) and should be treated as guideline only.
- Feel free to replace lemon with orange or even use both.
- Rhubarb cordial will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. For longer shelf-life add citric acid (read above).
MORE RHUBARB RECIPES YOU MIGHT ENJOY
Rhubarb & Ginger Cooler with Mint & Lemon
Easy Rhubarb Crumble (Rhubarb Crisp)
Stewed Rhubarb (Rhubarb Compote)
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Jennifer Brunet says
Planning on making my first ever batch in the morning, very excited. I am however going to try to make it with a sugar substitute. Debating between honey or monk sugar. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Hi Jennifer, Please do. Hope it goes well.
Nelly Moriarty says
Thanks for sharing your recipe. The first time I made it I followed the recipe and the second time I added some strawberries and really enjoyed the addition. I use the left over pulp mixed with bananas and make fruit leather in the dehydrator. It is sweeter than I am used to but delicious.
Hi Nelly, I'm so pleased you the recipe hit the spot. 🙂 Strawberries and rhubarb go really well together so am sure it was delicious. Really like the fruit leather idea. My air fryer has dehydrator function, I will need to give it a go.
Hi Jo, I'm about to make the cordial and would like to use citric acid so it will last in the bottles for longer. However, I'm wondering if it might be better to add the citric acid to the strained syrup or does it matter to have it in the stewed remains? Also does it dissolve easily i.e would you have to re-boil the liquid or could you just add and stir?
Incidentally, when I stew rhubarb I just steep the sugar and rhubarb for 24 or 36 hours without adding water and with the juice that is produced the flavour is more intense. Today I'm experimenting by putting the seeds of Sweet Cicely into the steeping process so the resulting flavour will be interesting!
Yes, I would add citric acid after straining and stir it in. It does not need to be boiled to dissolve. I do like the sound of your experiment with Sweet Cicely, hope you enjoy the flavour.
Thank you! Cordial was delish.
My experiment with the Sweet Cicely seeds was interesting - the flavour was excellent and made it seem sweeter but unfortunately the seeds looked like dead woodlice:-)) if I was doing it again, I'd put them in a muslin bag or maybe use the leaves instead and then remove those.
Great to hear cordial turned out delicious!
You did made me chuckle with your dead woodlice comparison, brilliant! 😉
Mary Delaney says
Can hardly wait for spring each year so I can make my rhubarb cordial! I add orange, as well as lemon, and ramp up the ginger.
Just as good is the leftover rhubarb mash which I substitute in any recipe that calls for applesauce. The consistency of the mash to applesauce is pretty much identical, but the flavour is so much more interesting. Simple to make and simply delish!!
It's a staple in our house too! So pleased you like the recipe and have since made it your own!
How much citric acid do you recommend adding to increase shelf life?
Hi Jonathan, For this recipe I recommend 1 tsp. Hope that helps. 🙂
Joan Clow says
It sounds very tasty and I will make some tomorrow. When cooking cranberries, etc., I was taught to add the sugar at the end so the berries - or whatever fruit - don't burn. Is there any advantage to not adding sugar until it is strained and bringing it to a quick boil then and reducing the liquid to the thickness and sweetness/taste you prefer? Some rhubarb has more liquid in the stocks than other. Thank you for the recipe and method.
Hi Joan, Many thanks for your comment. 🙂 As you've noticed there are two schools of thought when it comes to adding sugar when making cordials/syrups and both are correct. I would say that there would be an advantage of adding sugar at the end when using fruit that is high in pectin to prevent it from turning accidentally into jam. Rhubarb is naturally low in pectin so there is no such danger hence I add sugar at the start of cooking process. Hope that helps and I hope you enjoy the cordial. 🙂
Joan Clow says
Thank you for your reply. Picked the rhubarb this morning and it turned out well. We will enjoy🙂.
Elisabeth Loxley says
I make four or five litres of rhubarb cordial at a time. I never put the sugar in until I have the juice extracted. Also I only use rhubarb, nothing else, except sugar. For about 4 litres of syrup, I used 500 grams of sugar. After cutting about 30 stalks, cover with water, boil for a short time until the rhubarb is mostly mushed. Pour off the juice, the add a further litre or so of water bring to boil again then leave a while to steep. Boil the liquid again after adding sugar. For winter storage, longer than a month, I add citric acid and a little tartaric acid. Mostly the cordial is gone within 3 weeks, so doesn’t need preservative. I prefer it to any shop bought cordial. It is easy and there is no need to be very precise. When there is a glut of fruit, make it into cordial the same way.
I love the addition of ginger. I used lime instead of lemon, and I cooked everything together except for the sugar, as I didn’t want overly sweet stewed rhubarb for my morning oatmeal. I added the sugar to the strained liquid and simmered it. I found the syrup to be WAY too sweet. I picked another 500 grams of rhubarb, and stewed and strained it to add to the original syrup; now it is much more to my liking!
Hi Jane, Many thanks for your feedback. I'm pleased to hear you've enjoyed the addition of ginger to the cordial. As far as the amount of sugar is concerned it is cordial after all and hence destined to be diluted with water but I'm glad you've managed to adjust the recipe to your own liking as that's what it's all about. 🙂
Currently making my third batch with what is probably the last of this year's rhubarb. It makes a lovely refreshing drink that we all enjoy. Next year I will get some citric acid so we can enjoy it for longer.
How long do you think it will keep in the cupboard with the citric acid?
Hi Carla, I'm so pleased you've been enjoying rhubarb cordial. 🙂 With added citric acid and in properly sterilised bottles cordial should last for months if stored in a cool place or the fridge. Hope that helps!
Great recipe. Cordial is lovely in sparkling water, and also gin and tonic on a warm evening. Also noting is wasted with the stewed rhubarb wonderful for a crumble and topped with yogurt.
I'm so pleased you like it Charlotte 😊 x
Mines just straining, can’t wait to try! What would you do with the leftover rhubarb? Thanks !
Hi Chloe, So exciting! 🙂 I simply treat it as rhubarb compote/stewed rhubarb and add it to my porridge or yogurt and granola or even to top my pancakes. It's super sweet but I simply treat it as a topping and sweetener in one. It also freezes well so you can portion it and freeze for future use and defrost as and when you need it. Hope that helps! Enjoy your cordial! 🙂
Kate Gluten Free Alchemist says
Yay! Another rhubarb recipe. Loving the sound of rhubarb cordial x
Thank you Kate! 🙂 It's rhubarb rhubarb everywhere at the moment and this cordial is such a refreshing way of using it! 🙂 x
YUM! I love the combination of flavors and colors. Healthy, filling, and delicious. Can’t wait to try this recipe, I know my family will love it!
Thanks Shams! 🙂
Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie says
This sounds wonderful. Especially the cocktail version 😀 Eb x
Thanks Eb! 🙂 This cordial and Prosecco are a match made in heaven! 🙂 x
Louise Fairweather says
Oh I love rhubarb- this sounds lovely. Thanks for sharing on #cookblogshare
Thanks Louise 🙂
Fiona Manoon says
Loved it !!
Much needed recipe.
This could be the best drink to have in this hot weather.
Thank you so much for sharing such an amazing recipe.
Keep Blogging !!
Thank you Fiona! 🙂 Much appreciated!
Kat (The Baking Explorer) says
Ooo this would be great in a cocktail!
So so good! 🙂 Thanks Kat!
Michelle Frank | Flipped-Out Food says
I've held off buying rhubarb at the farmers market because I didn't want to make the "same old thing" with it. This gives me the perfect reason to buy a bunch—because OF COURSE I went straight to cocktails in my head, and we ARE approaching the weekend, after all...
Fantastic Michelle! I love it with some Prosecco - super simple but to die for!
Cat | Curly's Cooking says
I am definitely going to try this! I have so much rhubarb and don't want to keep making cakes so this is fantastic!
Brilliant! Please let me know how you get on. This is my second year of making this and we cannot get enough. It's like hot cakes in our house, never lasts long! lol