• Kate

Recipe: Really easy rhubarb fizz

Make your own sparkling summery drink with this 4-ingredient (OK, 5 if you include the water) recipe.



This is a completely delicious and indulgent springtime drink. With its pale to dark pink colouring and copious bubbles, it really captures the spirit of this season of growth and blossom.

You can multiply up this recipe as many times as you like- it will make a little over the volume of water you add. Just ensure you have enough suitable bottles to contain all the fizz you make: No sealed bottle = no fizzy drink!


Recipe (ratio)

  • 500g rhubarb

  • 250g sugar

  • 1 lemon

  • 2l cold water

  • 1tbsp cider vinegar or white wine vinegar

You will also need

  • A large bowl or food grade bucket, big enough for the volume of liquid you’re going to use

  • A teatowel or other clean fabric, to cover the bowl or bucket

  • A sharp knife and chopping board

  • Weighing scales and measuring jug (or estimate weights and use a bottle to estimate water volume)

  • A tablespoon for measuring

  • Enough plastic fizzy drink bottles to fit all the liquid- this will be about the same amount as the amount of water you use, or a little more.

Method


1. Rinse and finely chop the rhubarb- if you want more juice to come out, freeze the rhubarb overnight or squash it with a rolling pin to damage it.


2. Chop the lemon.


3. Add all the ingredients to your bowl, stir, then cover with a clean cloth.

* The bowl mustn’t be sealed as this drink will only become fizzy if the natural wild yeasts in the air are able to get in to start fermentation. This is how all wines and other fermented alcoholic drinks used to be made- now, commercial drinks are made using yeast cultures to ensure the same results every time and because sometimes wild yeast cultures can fail to get into the drink- or less pleasant cultures can get in- creating a sour or gone-off drink which will have to be thrown away. This is unlikely in such a quickly fermented drink but is more of a risk with products that are made over a longer period.


4. Leave for 2 days


5. Bottle into sterilised plastic screw-top bottles. These need to be bottles that are made for fizzy drinks or they will either unseal or explode as the drink ferments and pressurises the bottles.


* The leftover fruit is still usable and ready sweetened, though it will taste less strong than fresh rhubarb. Microwave for a few minutes until thoroughly cooked (this is necessary to sterilise the fruit so it doesn’t go off too fast- remember it’s just been deliberately collecting airborne bugs for a few days) and add to other dishes such as fruit salad or as part of the fruit in crumbles.


6. Leave for between 3 days and 4 weeks in a cool dark place, checking regularly


* The warmer the place you leave the bottles, the less time the drink will take to get fizzy (and alcoholic). It is possible for even fizzy drink bottles to break or explode under pressure- so it’s a good idea to store them either somewhere you don’t mind getting a bit sticky and damp, or in a large plastic box, just in case. Regularly “burping” the bottles every couple of days- releasing the pressure by undoing the lid a little way- is a really good idea, to avoid a mess and also losing all your lovely fizz! If no bubbles appear when you release the lid, either it hasn’t fermented (this could happen if no suitable yeasts get into the liquid) or, if you can hear a hissing sound when you undo the lid and the bottle is hard to squeeze, the pressure is REALLY high in the bottle: Bubbles will only form once the gas pressure in the bottle is low enough for carbon dioxide to escape from the water- so always release pressure until quite a lot of bubbles have formed in the liquid to avoid explosions!


* The longer you leave the rhubarb champagne, the fizzier it will get. It will also get less sweet and more alcoholic. This is because the yeasts fermenting the drink eat the sugars and release carbon dioxide, which makes the bubbles, and alcohol as their waste products. So if you want to give rhubarb fizz to children you should only wait a few days for the first bubbles to form- then it will be like the “naturally brewed” posh soft fizzy drinks you can buy, with only the tiniest amount of alcohol.


7. Once the drink is as you like it, put it into the fridge to slow fermentation, and drink within a week or so.





Serve chilled for a completely luxurious party drink- whatever the day or weather!

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