After more than two weeks of freezing cold, rain, hailstorms and other “attractions”, we finally have a warm, sunny spring weather. I thought it was an excellent occasion to write about my favourite rhubarb treat, namely the rhubarb soft drink. I must confess I have already posted this recipe a year ago, but I find it so exceptional and Iprepare it so often, I will probably be tempted to write about it every year.
I have always been a big fan of sour and acid food. As a child I would chew on the raw rhubarb sticks freshly picked in my grandmother’s garden and I have always loved this tangy drink my mum prepared in huge batches on hot spring and summer days and stored in a huge pitcher in the fridge. I cannot imagine a more refreshing and thirst quenching drink than a glass of cold rhubarb drink. Its unusual, characteristic smell, its tanginess and its fabulous colour will always remind me of hot summer days of my childhood.
The preparation is ridiculously easy and quick. The sugar/sweetener amount depends on everyone’s taste. I usually put a heaped teaspoon in one big glass (250ml), but strangely some rhubarb varieties do not need any sugar (at least for an acid flavours fan). The drink keeps – unsweetened – at least for up to a week in the fridge. Do not overdose the sugar, otherwise the drink will lose its tanginess and become bland. The colour depends on the stalks’ hue of course, so whenever I go to buy rhubarb on the market I choose the dark red ones.
WARNING: If you use rhubarb for the first time and the stalks have still some leaves, cut them off and throw away because rhubarb leaves are toxic.
Preparation: 1 hour
Ingredients (makes 1,7-1,8 liter):
500g rhubarb stalks, cleaned and cut in two/three pieces
2 litres cold water
sugar or sweetener
Put the rhubarb into a big pan with water.
Bring to boil at medium heat and cook until the rhubarb completely softens.
Put aside and wait until the rhubarb drink cools down.
Strain it and refrigerate for up to a week.
Add sugar or sweetener just before drinking and serve with very cold or with ice.