Home-infused vodka is my go-to DIY gift. It’s a great way to use surplus home-grown fruit and… well, do I really need to justify rhubarb vodka?
If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I often have shedloads of rhubarb on my hands, either from my Mum’s garden or from somebody’s allotment. Whilst most of it gets turned into desserts, like my rhubarb and orange ‘rose’ tart and some goes into savoury dishes, the rest is always, always destined for vodka.
I keep hold of any small glass bottles that I use day-to-day, ready to reuse with my infused vodkas and gins. Any small glass bottle will do, but the tall, thin ones are my favourite (Aspall Organic Cyder Vinegar bottles are quite good for this), as are interestingly shaped bottles (like those of Fentiman’s Botanically Brewed Drinks). Mini wine bottles also come in handy!
Whichever size or shape you use, they just need to be thoroughly washed out and sterilised before you reuse them.
At the time of writing, 70cl of rhubarb vodka costs between £20.00 – £40.00. This homemade version costs me just £15.21 per litre, so £10.65 for 70cl. It may cost you a little more if you have to buy the rhubarb, rather than getting your hands on it for free, but it’ll still save you money.
1 litre of supermarket own brand vodka (£15.00 at time of writing)
400g fresh rhubarb (free from my Mum’s garden)
200g caster sugar (21p at time of writing)
You will also need…
1 x 2 litre bottle or a 2 litre glass jar
Various sizes of small, glass bottles – washed out, sterilised and ready to re-use
A little jute twine, a few labels and a Sharpie
Wash the sticks of rhubarb and cut into thin strips or slices.
Put all the ingredients into your 2 litre bottle or jar, seal it and then store it in a dark cupboard for at least 8 weeks (I tend to leave mine 12 weeks). You will need to turn or gently shake the bottle or jar now and again to dissolve the sugar and move the rhubarb around.
After this time has passed, strain the liquid through muslin into a large jug and then pour (or funnel) the rhubarb vodka into your small, sterilised bottles.
(And don’t forget the most important step – taste testing!!!)
Tie jute twine around the neck of the bottle and hand write your labels, ready to give as gifts.
NB – I don’t always use actual measurements when I make my DIY infused vodkas and gins. As a general rule of thumb, I mentally divide the bottle/jar I am using into four, up to just under the neck of the bottle/jar. The bottom 1/4 is for the sugar, then the next 1/4 is for the fruit. When you pour in the gin or vodka it should then roughly reach the 3/4 mark. The remaining quarter (plus the neck area of the bottle/jar) is just space so that you can mix the ingredients around inside when you turn or shake it. I personally find this easier, because you can adapt to using different sized bottles and quantities. But feel free to use whatever works for you!