Turned out pretty easy, provided you are patient. Each step can take weeks, and the wine is not worth sampling until at least six months’ aging. Wait about a year, though, for the effusive sweetness to wear off, and it’s downright decent. No wine connoisseur or even a casual fan will consider this a remarkable product, but for the do-it-yourselfer with simple expectations, it’s surprisingly drinkable.
It’s rhubarb season, so finding five pounds either from your patch or the farmers market won’t be difficult. The recipe states to cover the rhubarb with boiling water – in my crock, that became one and a half gallons of liquid.
From there you strain, heat and add fruit, sugar and yeast. The original recipe called for an incredible amount of sugar – nine cups per gallon of liquid. I shrunk that to seven, and it worked well.
Also, once the wine is siphoned into the glass bottles, it can set for months and probably years in a cool, dark place. Mason jars with caps and bands work great to loosely cover the wine. It will be super-sweet at first, but given time, the rhubarb flavor will shine through.
Make this in spring, and it should be really good come the holidays. It’s sweet, tangy and enjoyable. Drink alone or as an aperitif, or mix with club soda or lemon-lime pop, or add to a gin and tonic. Considering the small amount of work required, it makes a damn fine sippin’ wine.
Here’s my amended version of the original recipe:
Finely dice five pounds rhubarb and put into a crock. Cover with boiling water and let stand three days. Strain.
Heat clear juice to almost boiling, measure and return to clean crock.
For each gallon of liquid add two oranges and one lemon, sliced very thin.
Add seven cups of sugar for each gallon of liquid.
When lukewarm, add yeast (for two gallons, add about ¼ ounce yeast). Stir well and let ferment about a week.
Strain, return to clean crock and let set about two weeks.
Siphon into clean glass bottles, put on covers very loosely and let set until it turns clear. This will take several months. Taste-test often until wine reaches desired flavor and smoothness.