Rhubarb wine and ginger ale

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This weekend, I was scheduled for a fruit wine-making class with a friend, but we had to reschedule.  So rather than have a non-wine-making weekend, I decided to tackle rhubarb!  I’ve heard that it makes a wine that’s mostly good for blending with other wines, or that it makes a fine drink in its own right, so I guess I’ll try it myself and see what I think.

I didn’t have quite enough rhubarb in the yard so I had to freeze it and wait to get more.  My recipe calls for a “dry juicing,” so the sugar went right onto the chopped fruit:

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It was supposed to sit for 24 hours, but I gave it a couple extra since part of the time it was still frozen.  Halfway through:

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Then I strained out the juice, added water up to the gallon, and added a crushed Campden tablet.  I put the rhubarb into a cheesecloth bag and put it back in for a few hours.  Next time, though, I think I might ferment on, since I do want the finished product to taste of rhubarb, and I think the Campden might eliminate some of that taste.  After 24 hours (actually, more like 26, as the following day was a Monday and I had to get home from work), I pitched the yeast and added nutrient.  It’ll get a week or so in the primary fermentation bucket, and then I’ll rack it into a carboy.  Hope it changes color though!  Right now, it’s kind of close in color to the dandelion.  A charming pinkish-red would be lovely, though I suspect it will stay greenish.

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I also thought I’d try some homemade soda, too.  A friend has recently been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia, so she’s supposed to avoid alcohol and I thought these might make a nice treat.  I tried ginger ale first.  Above is the syrup with ginger and lemon in it.  The recipe calls for Champagne yeast but I didn’t have any so I tried yogurt whey instead– which may prove useless.  I guess we’ll see.  Anyway, the whey is from another recipe, but I quite like the idea of a wild ferment, so here’s hoping anyway.  After the syrup cools, I put it in a 2 liter soda bottle, filled with water, and capped.

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It’s supposed to take 2 or 3 days to ferment enough to carbonate, at which point the bottle should feel rock-hard.  As of this morning, it was still pretty squeezeable, so I guess I’ll have to wait and see!  I suspect I may need to add some yeast, ultimately.  I may also try strawberry soda soon, but I need people to help me collect soda bottles, or maybe spend another 87 cents on fizzy water, like I did last weekend.  (The humanity!)

More drink experiments to come!

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