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We have some Danish friends who live in North Zealand, near Hillerød, and we’ve taken the train up to visit them a couple times since we relocated. I think any time I have been at their house they have busted out homemade flavored vodkas, and this time was no different. They had a homemade rhubarb vodka and homemade elderberry vodka that we enjoyed out on their deck after whipping up a traditional Danish lunch.
Rhubarb was entering peak season, so they had plenty on hand. Which meant I got to learn how they do it, and we brought home a jar of our own. After 3 weeks it was ready for drinking. I shared the cocktails on Instagram and got several requests for the recipe. So here it is!
What you’ll need: a bunch of fresh rhubarb (get at least 10-12 stalks), vanilla bean (or you can use raw ground vanilla beans), 600 grams (or 3 cups) of sugar, a bottle of vodka (you’ll need about 24 oz) and a large jar or other glass container that it can sit in for 3 weeks.
How to do it: start by washing the rhubarb and setting it aside. Then measure out 600 grams (which is about 3 cups) of sugar and pour carefully into the glass jar. Now it’s time to add your vanilla. If you have a powdered extract you can add about 1 tsp. If you have the fresh beans you can slice it lengthwise and then use the dull edge of a knife to scrape along it and remove the tiny seeds from inside (it looks like dark dirt). Add the vanilla to the jar.
Cube the rhubarb into half-inch chunks and add them into the jar, loosely packed, until it reaches the top. Then, slowly pour in the vodka, allowing it to absorb into the sugar, until the jar is full. Tightly seal the jar with the lid, and turn several times until things are starting to combine. Set the jar in a cool, dry place for 3 weeks, turning every few days to combine the ingredients.
Over the next three weeks the rhubarb will start to lose it’s color, leaving it a dull green, and the vodka should take on a pretty pink shade. After three weeks it is ready to consume! Most people strain out the rhubarb and then store the vodka in a resealable bottle. When we separated our rhubarb from our vodka we spread the rhubarb out on a tray and froze it, then put it into a tiny container in the freezer. They make cute little rhubarb ice cubes for your drinks! Below are a few of our favorite recipes for enjoying it!
As the Danes do! Simply pour it over an ice cube and top with a twist of lime.
Also as the Danes do! Pour about 2 ounces of the Rhubarb Vodka over ice and top with bubbly water, soda water or tonic (you pick!). A twist of lime is optional, but is a nice way to cut up the sweetness.
As these Americans do! We like to pour about 1 oz of the Rhubarb Vodka over ice, then add 1 oz of regular vodka. We then top it with a few ounces of ginger beer, a few ounces of bubbly water, fresh fruit (blueberries, cherries or sticks of rhubarb) and a twist of lime.