Doris McCarthy’s Rhubarb Wine

Doris McCarthy was well known for her homemade rhubarb wine. Try your hand at making it following her own recipe!

Keep all equipment scrupulously clean with soap, water, thorough rinsing and sunshine.

Into a plastic pail, cut six pounds of rhubarb. Cover with a kettleful of boiling water and add a crushed campden tablet. Let stand three or four days to soften. Make the yeast starter with warm (boiled) water, sugar and yeast in a glass jar with a clean cloth over the top. Stir daily and keep warm.

After a few days, strain the mash and press out all juice by putting it through a colander with a plate on top and weights on that.

To clear the juice, add one teaspoon of yeast nutrient, three cups of sugar dissolved in part of the juice and the yeast. Let it ferment, covered, until the froth subsides and it is almost quiet.

Siphon or pour gently off through cheesecloth into a gallon jar. Try not to disturb the dregs that already lie in the bottom of the pail. Add 1¼ cups of sugar dissolved in part of the juice, and enough water to bring the liquid to the shoulder of the gallon jar. Seal with an air lock.

Leave for several weeks until all fermentation has stopped and the wine is clear. Several months is okay as long as you do not allow the air lock to dry out. Siphon into clean bottles with screw tops. And enjoy!

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Doris McCarthy (on the left, lying down) at a party (University of Toronto Scarborough Library, Doris McCarthy fonds, Series L: Photographs — Box 7 (file 18), o2011001L-7-18_03.tif

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