Rhubarb liqueur is created from rhubarb from several Vernon homes and farms.

Rhubarb liqueur is created from rhubarb from several Vernon homes and farms.

New rhubarb liqueur evokes memories for distiller

Vernon’s Okanagan Spirits has taken a vegetable and turned it into a new beverage.

For the first time in 12 years, Vernon’s Okanagan Spirits has taken a vegetable and turned it into a new beverage.

Rhubarb liqueur is created from rhubarb from several Vernon homes and farms.

“I have often said I recognize and appreciate a high quality spirit if it is able to evoke great memories,” said Peter von Hahn, senior distiller.

“My early childhood memories of rhubarb included many summer trips to various B.C. relatives where the dreaded fresh home-made rhubarb juice was served, instead of meeting our cravings for soda pop sugar waters. It was with some hesitation that I decided to journey down memory lane, to produce our first B.C. rhubarb liqueur for a late summer release.”

After putting the call out to residents, the interest in supplying Okanagan Spirits with rhubarb was positive.

“Many rhubarb growers often added their own tales of life experiences with rhubarb and various old family rhubarb recipes,” said von Hahn.

“Others, admittedly were just happy to get rid of the rhubarb and see it put to good use.”

The distilling processing, though, created some challenges.

“Hand chopping of every stalk at the distillery was humbling; actually mind-numbing,” said von Hahn.

“Maybe not so much a labour of love now. The resulting liqueur? A beautiful natural pink-red rhubarb liqueur that oozes a lingering rhubarb after-taste. My sincerest gratitude to the many local residents who arrived at the distillery with a seemingly never ending supply of home-grown B.C. rhubarb.”