An easy-to-make homemade variation of this involves simply combining the produce and spirit of your choice. blend blueberries with gin, strawberries with tequila or, in this case, rhubarb with brandy:

3 cups roughly chopped rhubarb
500 mililiters brandy

Combine ingredients in a jar and tightly seal. Store in a cool,
dark place and shake daily. Ready in 7–10 days.

We’ve now managed to capture the essence of rhubarb in alcohol. but while bright and juicy, the brandy has become a bit tart and astringent. to remedy this, the next step involves blending it with sweet flavors and other complex aromatics to give it balance and depth. i decided a homemade aperitif, in the form of a fortified wine, would be a wonderful way to express this.

basically, this involves cooking wine with herbs and spices, then “fortifying” it with the brandy. Starting with some foundational recipes of homemade vermouths passed on to me by Jackson Cannon, bar director of Eastern Standard and island Creek oyster bar, i was able to create my own recipe for a wine-based spring spirit: