One cold and frosty morning in February as we drove to Pudsey, West Yorkshire, we thought to ourselves "how can a vegetable can grow in this freezing weather!"
We pulled up to Robert Tomlinson's farm where we heard the tale of how this beguiling pink stem is born and has been grown here by his family for 4 generations. This 23 sq km area is known as the Yorkshire triangle is home to flinty soil with high rainfall perfect for this vegetal oddity.
We pulled on our boots and headed down the slippy frozen track. I noticed a few small sprouting leaves in the fields. I expected to see large bushes of the green Rhubarb leaves often found in the shady areas of the vegetable patch at home. As we walked past the frozen fields, we headed into a large barn and then through a small door.
With Stereophonics blasting in the background, it took my eyes a few seconds to adjust to the darkness. As the room came in to focus, we noticed 1000’s of pink stems lit by candlelight looking like crowds packed together at glastonbury, with silent workers floating attentively seeing to the rhubarbs needs.
After chatting to Robert we learnt that this fickle vegetable is anything but easy to grow. It thrives in the county’s cold winters, but if the soil is too wet, it can’t be planted. If the temperature is too hot, it won’t grow. A dozen frosts are needed, and it is only then can the roots be dug up from the fields and meticulously replanted inside the sheds. Here photosynthesis is limited, encouraging glucose stored in the roots to stimulate growth making it a lot sweeter.
After our chat, a walk round the barns and packing room we loaded the van with rhubarb cut from the previous day and set about creating our very first rhubarb gin. We were lucky enough to work with Matt Hunter who used his incredible tasting pallet to create a pure rhubarb syrup crafted from this fine Rhubarb picked by candlelight. We have blended this syrup into a coastal gin distilled to create our first Coastal Curiosity. This sweet 42% ABV Rhubarb Gin combines our traditional ingredients collected along the Yorkshire coastline with Yorkshire's finest Rhubarb. This orangy pink liquid uses no artificial flavouring or colouring,
We have created the purest form of Rhubard Gin!
To buy a bottle from our very limited batch please visit our online store.