Spirits & Liqueurs
- Written by Andrew Clarke Andrew Clarke
- Published: 20 December 2016 20 December 2016
They say you can hear rhubarb grow. In fact Sam, who designed our lovely new masthead, found a recording of squelchy popping noises [should have published this yesterday, the Today programme stole our thunder – worth a listen though - Ed.]. All very odd. Nevertheless, rhubarb is a versatile plant as well as rather beautiful plant. We Brits will know it though crumbles and the like, the thought of which I confess, sets my teeth on edge. In Iceland, they spread rhubarb jam on waffles and pancakes, which is much nicer, especially with a good cup of coffee.
The people at 64° Reykjavik Distillery make a beautiful, delicate pink, rhubarb liqueur. This is the distillery that makes the crowberry drink we wrote about a few weeks ago. As a regular visitor to Iceland, I’ve sampled the rhubarb a few times. It’s good, though maybe more as a spring drink than a winter one. It isn’t quite in the same league as the crowberry but I have a strong bias towards that one. The next time I am at Keflavik airport, it will be the trusty crowberry that I bring home unless I am feeling flush enough to buy both.
We gathered the office together to sample a very stylish bottle of the Rabarbara. We served it at room temperature, which in our office at this time of year equates to pretty well chilled. The bottle was opened, glasses poured and the contents swirled, sniffed and tasted.
A rhubarb beverage sounds a little odd, so surprise and even caution hovered around at first. They dissipated with a few sips. Caroline did need to wait for the alcohol to come through (which it does quite powerfully for 21%) to take the edge off the sweetness. Nick picked up the rhubarb flavour and judged it a good dessert wine equivalent to have with friends, after a meal and especially at Christmas. Sam really liked it and told us about the rhubarb triangle in West Yorkshire.
This isn’t like one of those drinks you buy on holiday and bring back to hide at the back of the cupboard until desperation calls it out. It’s light enough to work as an aperitif and solid enough to make a dessert.