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Raise the Rhuf Part One

Here are five facts we bet you didn’t know about rhubarb:

  1. The leaves are poisonous
  2. The redder the stalk, the sweeter the taste
  3. It was used as an ointment or medicine centuries ago
  4. It is actually a vegetable
  5. Rhubarb is grown on the roof of The Printworks!!


That’s right, here at The Printworks we have a rooftop garden that houses a vegetable patch, herb garden, beetle hotel and even bee hives!

We grow everything from lettuce, strawberries, beetroot, potatoes, mint and radish.




This summer we saw an abundance of rhubarb on our rooftop. Rhubarb thrives in direct sunlight so our rooftop garden was the perfect place this summer!


In Wakefield, Leeds and Morely the tradtition is that the first rhubarb of the year is harvested by candlelight in forcing sheds where all other light is excluded – a practice that produces a sweeter, more tender stalk. On this side of the Pennines we tend to pick whenever it is ready and hope for the best!




In 2015 the harvested rhubarb was given to our tenant Waxy O’Connor’s who made a rhubarb pie which was donated to our chosen charity, The Booth Centre.

This year we decided to see if we could make some rhubarb infused cocktails and take advantage of the gorgeous reds and pinks that had saturated the stalks. The natural combination of sweet and tart would give us lots of options from syrups to liqueurs and adding different spirits would give us a whole array of flavours to tickle our tastebuds!

We enlisted the help of Nathan Larkin, Hard Rock Cafe Manchester’s resident bartender and mixologist, to come up with some tasty recipes for us and make some special Printworks rooftop rhubarb cocktails!



We are going to explain how Nathan made a simple rhubarb syrup, liqueur and bitters before we bring you some tasty rhubarb cocktail recipes over the coming weeks. We have a classic, a twist on a classic and a winter warming cocktail!



To make a rhubarb syrup simply:

  • Heat desired amount of rhubarb over a low/medium heat in a saucepan with water and stir gently (recommended 300-400ml for home use)
  • Stir gently until fruit becomes soft, breaks apart and water is coloured
  • Fine strain/sieve the water into a separate container or saucepan
  • Use leftover rhubarb as you wish
  • Place rhubarb infused water back onto a low heat
  • Add equal amounts of sugar to liquid (300ml liquid – 300 grams sugar)
  • Stir gently until sugar is dissolved. for a richer syrup, add more sugar and allow to sit on a low heat until thick


Tip: You can also heat the liquid/sugar/rhubarb mixture (like making tea) to infuse the flavours quicker.

Tip 2: Why don’t you try adding other fruit, herbs or spices to the mixture for other flavour elements.


To make a rhubarb liqueur simply:

  • Take a neutral spirit (Example:Vodka)
  • Add 100 grams of sugar per litre
  • Add in finely chopped rhubarb
  • Seal tightly and let it sit for 10-14 days occasionally giving a gentle shake


To make rhubarb bitters simply:

  • Take a high proof alcohol around or above 50% ABV Sun Liquor UNXLD organic wheat vodka is popular
  • Soak in finely chopped rhubarb and any other elements you might want to add (Cinnamon/allspice/anise/cloves/corriander seeds for a more earthy bitterness)
  • For a more floral bitters, try rose petals/juniper berries/grapefruit peel/orange peel)
  • Seal in an airtight bottle or jar for around 2 weeks with occasional shaking



Now we have the basics we can then go onto making a variety of concoctions. We have three cocktail recipes to bring you so keep a lookout on our facebook page or on the website for:

Rhubarb G&T

Rhubarb Gin Twist

Rhubarb Crumble Cocktail






Hard Rock Cafe will donate £1 from the sale of each cocktail to the Manchester Cathedral Volunteer Programme.


Printworks    hard-rock-cafe-colour


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