Rhubarb and cider are a match made in heaven. Not only do they share a rich history full of British heritage and tradition, but when paired together the flavours are a cider lovers dream. At Crafty Nectar we feel we have made the world's best rhubarb cider. Here's why...
At Crafty Nectar, we set out on a journey to create a real fruit cider, using pressed rhubarb juice, different to so many artificial flavoured fake fruit commercial ciders on the market. We harness the sweet and sharp flavours of rhubarb in our cider. We are passionate about high quality, full juice ciders and we have created ‘Crafty Nectar no.8’, bringing you the world’s tastiest fruit cider (we didn’t say it - you did!). As we like to put it, ‘opposites always attract’! We combine Yorkshire triangle rhubarb juice, with fresh pressed West Country apples to create the cider. The result is a well balanced, zingy cider with a subtle rhubarb finish, that hits all the right senses. It really is a magical marriage of sweet and sour. It is made from 100% full juice, with no additives or flavourings (and it is also gluten free and vegan friendly).
International Cider Award Winner & Stable Cider Awards
‘Crafty Nectar no.8’ has won some of the most coveted awards in the industry, it won first place at The Stable Cider Awards 2019 (tasted by 15,000 people) and it was a double silver award winner at the International Cider Awards 2019. These awards celebrate the well balanced, yet zingy flavour profile, of the lightly sparkling rhubarb cider.
But the question is - do you know how it all got started? The rhubarb cider ‘Crafty Nectar no.8’ that we all love has an incredible story behind it. Read on to find out more.
Crafty Nectar no.8 Rhubarb Cider - how it all started
We started Crafty Nectar as a subscription service growing to the UK’s no.1 destination for craft cider, connecting consumers with high quality, locally produced craft cider. We were inspired to make our own cider, and born from the flavour profiles of thousands of drinkers, we created the world’s first and best crowdsourced ciders, Crafty Nectar no.7 and Crafty Nectar no.8.
History of Rhubarb
Let’s start with why we chose rhubarb, its amazing history and why we love it so much…
First of all, Rhubarb is a wonder-plant that is often overlooked. In fact, a few centuries ago the roots of the plant were used as medicine! It was so effective that at that time rhubarb was far more valuable than opium (three times the price). Yes, the same plant that’s used to produce your favourite rhubarb cider has medicinal uses!
Despite its massive success as a medicinal herb, rhubarb was only used as an edible ingredient in 1817 or so. While it was initially used purely for its health benefits, it wasn’t long until everyone realised that it also tasted delicious! A new way of cultivating rhubarb, called ‘forcing’ was - legend has it - discovered in 1817 in the Chelsea Physic Gardens. Commercial growers in the London area discovered more variations and streamlined the growing process and it became a massive hit. And this was all long before the pairing of rhubarb and cider!
Taking inspiration from the London area, farmers in Yorkshire then experimented with the forcing process, too. The Whitwell family of Leeds are known to be the first commercial growers who put a dent on the business of growers based in London. Other growers in Yorkshire followed suit and soon enough, Yorkshire’s rhubarb became a sensation. Its success was partially thanks to special techniques such as sheds that were thought of by the Yorkshire growers, but the inherent qualities and the amazing taste of the rhubarb had a lot to do with the success too. In fact, rhubarb grown in Yorkshire became so popular that it eventually drove growers in London out of business!
The main producers of rhubarb were now based in Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford, which was later known as “The Golden Triangle’. So what made West Yorkshire so special for growing rhubarb? Well, apparently growers in The Golden Triangle had the best crop due to a unique mix of the soil and climate. It is often attributed to the Pennines location (which made the area frosty and hence improved the crop) and the quality of water. Another reason could have been the sulphur-rich soil in the area (as a result of being an industrial hub before rhubarb cultivation became big).
Yorkshire-produced Forced Rhubarb now even has Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status from the EU. What we love about Yorkshire rhubarb is the sherbet, tangy flavour and the delicate texture. So, from being just used for medicinal purposes to becoming the livelihood of millions of families and celebrated as a British staple, rhubarb has come a long way.
Our Rhubarb Cider Has the Finest Hand Grown Rhubarb
At Crafty Nectar, we are passionate about supporting real producers, who use traditional techniques to create amazing, high quality produce. Let’s start with where we source our rhubarb and introduce you to the growers behind the glorious rhubarb that goes into our cider...
Very few farmers of classic Yorkshire forced rhubarb remain, and Dave Westwood is one of the suppliers that we use for the rhubarb that goes into our cider. His family has been growing forced rhubarb for six generations in their farm located at the very centre of The Golden Triangle, in Wakefield.
The special technique David still uses to this day originally came from his great-uncle back in 1870. If you’re curious about the amazing (and complex) process of how David Westwood’s farm grows their delicious, bright-pink rhubarb then you have come to the right place. The roots are allowed to grow out in the open for two years. This helps tenderise the plant and promotes a healthy accumulation of sugars to make the rhubarb extra tasty. Once that’s done, the roots are placed in sheds, away from light. Once the rhubarb stalks are ready, they are harvested by - wait for it - candle light. This helps the rhubarb taste better by removing the bitterness and acidity caused by photosynthesis. Genius!
It is incredible to think that David Westwood’s farm still uses this technique to grow some of the finest rhubarb in the market today. A technique that was first discovered some 150 years ago! He does all of this magic with the help of his family and continues to provide the world with the most beautiful pink rhubarb.
Amazing how rich the background of our favourite rhubarb cider is, isn’t it? The next time you take a sip of it, remember just how much history this stuff has!
Bringing you Crafty Nectar no.8 Rhubarb Cider
So there you have it, the history of rhubarb and the inspiration behind Crafty Nectar no.8. At Crafty Nectar, we are passionate about sharing the wonders of craft cider as widely as possible. We are the biggest craft cider subscription service in the UK, bringing rare, unique and small scale-produced real cider gifts to your door.
Rhubarb Cider Reviews: ★★★★★
We have created Crafty Nectar no.8 fruit cider, to bring to the market a high quality, great tasting, 100% full juice rhubarb cider that is a harmonious combination of rhubarb and apple (and vegan friendly and gluten free). Check out our online shop where it is available in 330ml bottles, cans and you can also enjoy on tap in a number of good pubs and bars.