“The inspiration creating Rhuby comes from a childhood in Sweden, at my grandparent’s house, squinting into the early spring sun while punching a juicy Rhubarb stalk into a cup of sugar biting off its frayed end”
It’s amazing what can inspire you to create a product, one that does so much for the bartending community and ultimately one of the most used liqueur expressions around. The above words were uttered by Ylva Binder, founder of the Rhuby liqueur based out from Sweden. Her love of all things sweet can be traced back to her early years alongside her father who had an avid interest in herbs and spices for the traditional SNAPS. Since then, and up to the launch of the liqueur on December 1st 2011, she had worked with such stellar names as Grey Goose, Berkeley Square, BLOOM and Absolut in a career that spanned some 25 years. But it was coming back to her roots in Åker Styckebruk, Sweden, a small village situated in the countryside by lake Visnaren, that really boosted her profile as a Master Distiller.
Using her experiences and her childhood traits and memories, she opted for local, natural rhubarb from within the vicinity of her distillery (although soon she will be harvesting from her own distillery). She uses a wheat vodka base which comes from one of the first organic distilleries based in Södermanland, Sweden. Together, with a low sugar content, it creates the base of many a drink.
To go into a bit more detail of the production, Solveig Sommarström (the master blender of Rhuby) juices the rhubarbs after having been frozen, which ultimately releases more of the flavours. This is preserved with vodka and added at the blending point with water from the natural source of Storskogens Källa. Sugar and a small amount of bourbon bean vanilla are also added. before being rested and left to marry together. Once 24 hours passes, it can be bottled.
So how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Rhuby – 20%
Slight vanilla on the nose rounds off the dominant rhubarb. Fresh, sweet and incredibly inviting. Thin on the palate, with the natural flavour of rhubarb coming through, followed by a velvet sweetness. Slightly thick viscosity on the finish, but a slightly dry hit of the rhubarb creates a long experience.
A stunning liquid on its own, and incredibly fresh to enjoy. However, It’s not a crime with this spirit to enjoy within a cocktail –
50 ml Rhuby
25 ml Cachaca
2 wedges of fresh lemon
Muddle lemon (rather than the traditional lime and sugar). Add plenty of crushed ice and pour a generous serving of Rhuby. To top it off add a splash of cachaca. Garnish with a pink edible flower.
Delightful, and fits well with the Brazilian nature we’ve all picked up on with the FIFA World Cup and Olympics.
Something Ylva prides herself in is raising awareness for charity. The annual ‘Pink Your Drink’ campaign has gone from strength to strength since its inception back in 2012. Rhuby and the ‘Pink Your Drink ‘foundation commits to a loyal and long-term alignment to raise funds and increase the awareness of the Pink Ribbon and support female entrepreneurs.
The major activity of the year takes place in October, Breast Cancer Awareness, when the finals for the all-female bartender competition takes place, with this year (2014) hitting USA, Britain and Sweden. The all-female bartender competition supports women in what frequently is seen as a male dominated industry, as well as donating to charity during the events.
It’s great to hear how working in the industry can create a journey that culminates in making your own spirit, and one that reminds you vividly of your childhood. Fair play to Ylva, I think she’s got this brand spot on. One to enjoy.
© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.