Rhubarb Art in the Age

Enjoy this liqueur simply over rocks or in creative springtime cocktails.

Rhubarb is one of the first plants to come up in a perennial garden. Its tangy flavor is enjoyed in jams, while strawberry-rhubarb pie might be the perfect expression of down-home taste. To find that memory-laden aroma in a bottle is a great way to preserve the essence year-round.

Rhubarb originally came from China, where it was used as an herbal tonic. In the late 18th century, cane sugar became more affordable, and that changed the way rhubarb was enjoyed. Upon discovering the capacity of sugar to release the wonders of the plant’s intrinsic flavor, rhubarb migrated from a doctor’s tonic to a tasty treat.

Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction is the esoteric name for the distillery behind the production of Root, Sage and RHUBARB Tea, with the latter featuring a botanical bounty of beets, carrots, lemons, petitgrain, cardamom, pure cane sugar, and certified organic rhubarb. It’s an 80-proof spirit that’s tangy but not too tangy — sweet, but not too sweet. It’s crisp and refreshing, but with a hint of spice. Art in the Age is under the same ownership as Tamworth Distilling and Mercantile in Tamworth. Currently, owner Steven Grasse is building a program in Tamworth for farm-to-bottle distilling and making a variety of spirits in small batches.

One reason Grasse chose New Hampshire over his native Pennsylvania was the purity of the water. A good spirit starts with the best water and the Ossipee aquifer is very pure. Grasse was the inventor of two of the most successful spirits brands of the 21st century, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum and Hendrick’s Gin. His investment in rural Tamworth is more than just another distillery location. He and his philosophy are deeply rooted in building a great product from the ground up and giving the local community a place to learn and commune. The 19th-century idea of a lyceum is at the core of the development. The distillery is also a mercantile with useful things made by hand, a place to meet and converse and eventually, the Tamworth Inn will be opened as a farm-to-table restaurant.

At the moment only un-aged products are available and only at the distillery. The distillery is scheduled  to open to the public in late May.

Enjoy this liqueur simply over rocks or in creative springtime cocktails.

Garden Gimlet from Art in the Age features another early spring garden plant — mint.

1 part RHUBARB Tea
1.5 parts Hendrick’s Gin
1/2 part simple syrup
2 fresh mint leaves
Cucumber for muddling and garnish
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice and wedges for garnish

Muddle mint and cucumber in a mixing glass. Squeeze in lime. Add other ingredients. Shake with ice and pour into a chilled rocks glass. Strain out ice if desired. Add cucumber slices and mint as a garnish. 

Categories: Wine & Spirits