Cordial drinking for Canada

The weather for Canada Day in Halifax is looking good. So while you’re (hopefully) enjoying a day off, you’ll need a few good drink recipes to show what a patriot you are.

Make a rhubarb toast to our nation

The beginning of July is pretty much the end of rhubarb season – but if you’ve got a few stalks left , try drinking them. That’s right: I’ve become a big fan of rhubarb based drinks.  The basic principle for all the rhubarb drinks I’ve tried is the same: pull your rhubarb, cut it up, simmer it and pour the liquid through a strainer to remove most of the solid fruit. The result is a tasty liquid  you can use in alcoholic or nonalcoholic drinks. As a bonus, you can throw the remaining rhubarb chunks into some dessert baking, bearing in mind its reduced flavour.

While the internet abounds with recipes for making  cordials, I’ve decided that working on a cup for cup basis works well – 1 cup chopped rhubarb to 1 cup water.  Simmer 15 to 20 minutes – I like to do it half the time with the lid on and half with the lid off, and aim to have half the amount of liquid that I started with by the end. With this you’ll have a decently strong cordial to proceed with.

If you’re planning on using water as the liquid to dilute your cordial with – add some sugar while the brew is still hot and stir vigourously to get the sugar mixed in.  If you’ll be mixing your cordial with something other than water, consider the sugar content of that mix before adding too much sweetener.  Dilute the cordial to taste, and serve cold.  Mixing with clear soda-like Sprite or 7UP- is a good way to add sweetness and bubbles.

If you like a bit of kick in your drinks – try the sweetened cordial with gin and soda water or tonic (I made the switch to soda a few years ago after realizing the sugar content of tonic water-but either works), some lime and a touch of fresh mint if you’ve got it.  But the pièce de résistance of summer rhubarb drinks has to be this slushie recipe that I recently encountered on a trip to New Brunswick:

Boozy rhubarb slushie

Make your cordial from 8 cups each of water and rhubarb. Pour off the liquid and combine with 2 cans of frozen pink lemonaid and 1 pint of gin. Freeze for 24 hours.  Once frozen, stir the slush to get the parts mixed more evenly, scoop into a tall glass and top with soda water (or tonic, or Sprite/7UP, if you’ve got a sweeter tooth).

Happy Canada Day!