Cordials are a curious thing. They remind me of Victorian parlors and cut lead class vessels holding all manner of liquid delights. I don't know why I think of them as old fashioned but I do. They are a sipping drink, a slow drink ment to be savored in small quantity. And with the price of most commercial cordials I can see why. Cordials pack a hefty punch to the wallet.
Wait a minute, you don't know what a cordial is? Let me tell you. A cordial is a sweetened liquor made most often from fruits, aromatic flowers or herbs that is sipped in small quantities as a digestif or just a saut de langue (I just made that up). They are often made with neutral spirits but can be made with Brandy or even rum or tequila. Once in a while a cordial may even have medicinal properties but most often they are just to delight the tongue.
I got inspired at the grocery store the other day when I saw this beautiful rhubarb in the produce section. I never grew up eating rhubarb and it is too hot to grow it here in Dallas so I am not too familiar with it but I know it is tart. The stalks at the store were a beautiful red hue and very crisp looking so I bought a few and decided that a tart, sweet cordial might be a fun thing to try. I cut them up to expose more surface area and made a standard tincture from them.( I covered the almost full quart jar with 50% Everclear 50% water to make an almost 100 proof solution) Then I let the tincture sit for a week. I did the same thing in a different jar with strawberries which were on sale at the store.
I did an experiment where I put a small batch of strawberries in straight Everclear to see if I could taste the difference in infusion techniques. I would think that the Everclear would pull more liquid from the fruit and give a deeper fruity taste after dilution to 100 proof but I'm not sure if there will be a difference between infusing in 100 Proof or 200 Proof. We shall see. At any rate, I saw that the Everclear batch was blanched out and the liquid was a very pretty red so I decided to decant that batch and dilute it. It smelled nicely of strawberries but was kind of harsh. Then I remembered that strawberry and rhubarb are often cooked together and this pretty baby was born.
Oh, what a delight this was! A Strawberry and Rhubarb Cordial! Sweet and tart at the same time. And a very pretty pink to boot! As I am diabetic I needed to avoid using sucrose to sweeten this, and it did need sweetening to bring up the strawberry flavor so I used only one drop of liquid sucralose. The first sip was extraordinary. But then I got to thinking. I like my lemoncello straight from the freezer, perhaps this would be good cold. I added an ice cube and Voilá, perfection. The one drop of liquid sucralose was just enough sweetening without a bitter aftertaste and the ice made the rhubarb flavor pop. Of course, if you are not watching your sugar intake you can sweeten this with a simple syrup made from sugar and water in a 1:1 ratio boiled until disolved. I am very happy with this combination. After this sits for a month to mellow the Everclear this cordial combo should be sublime. I am so happy with this that I may make up more strawberry "tincture" and then use that to make up a medicinal tincture that tastes good, like Echinacea in strawberry.
STRAWBERRY RHUBARB CORDIAL
2T Strawberry vodka 100 proof
1T Rhubarb vodka 100 Proof
1 Dr. liquid sucralose