Wednesday, November 13, 2013

BACK TO BASICS - Fresh Fruit Schnapps

 By early Spring our store of frozen fruit is diminished, or finished. Any dried fruit has long since been eaten. Summer fruits are merely a promise of blossoms in the orchards. There are only a few dwindling jars of sweet preserved fruit. And then the rhubarb emerges with all it's tangy tongue-sucking sharpness, packed with vitamins and the freshness of Spring.

Impatiently I tug out immature leaves and add the stalks to oats porridge, muffins and puddings. Some of the farm children chew the sour stalks raw, dipping them in sugar to ease their bite. The zingy scent of Spring rhubarb sends happy thoughts up my nostrils into my soul.

A kind gift from Kerry, Salt Sugar Smoke by Diana Henry, inspired me to try a new recipe for our Spring rhubarb: Rhubarb Schnapps. The giant leaves on my five emerging plants belied the size of the new stalks that were ready for picking. Undaunted, I just reduced the recipe.

In deference to copyright, I'll not share the exact details of the recipe, but rather the BASIC idea that can be adapted to any fruit liqueur, as the basic principle is the same. We have made cherry and apricot liqueur in the past using the same method.

 Wash and chop your chosen fruit and weigh it. (We used rhubarb stalks)
 Measure out sugar, roughly half of the fruit's weight.
 Leave the fruit and sugar in a clean jar overnight to draw out the fruit juice.
Cover the juicy mixture with vodka or other strong spirit.
Keep the jar at room temperature and shake every day for about a month.
 Strain the liquid into a sterilised bottle and discard the fruit. 
Chill well and enjoy. 

Liquid rhubarb in a glass. 


  1. Hi Cath, looks good! I thought the leaves were poisonous? We have a few plants which I use in a creme brûlée but the leaves end up on the compost.

  2. Yes, you're right. The leaves are poisonous. I'll edit and fix that slip-up.

  3. Oh, thankyou for the instructions, Cath! This sounds sooo good. I have been playing with making Irish Cream lately..and am ready to move on to something new. I wonder how raspberry schnapps would go..? We have a couple of bags still in the freezer from last summer...

    1. What a treat to have enough raspberries for freezing. Last Summer we only got a few handfuls. Even our strawberries this year haven't made it into the freezer. I m sure raspberry schnapps would be fantastic.