Bright pink stems of indoor grown (or ‘forced’) rhubarb come into season just as cleavers are full of vitality in the later winter months. Both rhubarb and cleavers are renowned for their blood-purifying tonic properties, and together with the warming spices of ginger and juniper they make a sensational reviving drink that’s perfect for late-winter sipping.


  • 1kg Rhubarb, washed and chopped into 5cm chunks
  • 300g Sugar
  • 10 Juniper berries
  • 100g Cleavers, washed
  • Thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger, finely sliced


  • STEP 1

    Place the rhubarb in a wide pan, cover with 750ml water and set over a medium heat. Simmer until it is pulpy and has given its colour up to the water.

  • STEP 2

    Strain the rhubarb (all is not lost for the fruit – you can add the pulp to apples to make a crumble), and pour the liquid through a muslin cloth into a measuring jug, topping up the liquid with water until it measures 500ml. Pour into the pan, add the sugar, and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Once the juice and sugar has turned into a clear syrup, turn off the heat and allow the liquid to cool before pouring into a jug with the juniper berries, cleavers and ginger. Infuse overnight, then strain out the cleavers, ginger and juniper and heat the liquid to boiling point before pouring into a sterilized bottle. The mixture can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

  • STEP 3

    Serve diluted with sparkling water or tonic and a splash of restorative gin.

Recipes and illustrations taken from FORAGE: Wild Plants to Gather, Cook and Eat, by Liz Knight, illustrations by Rachel Pedder-Smith, is published by Laurence King at £19.99