With the Spirits of the Holiday

“Bibamus, moriendum est.”    Seneca 

Rhuby is served in celebration of a life well lived
This would appear to be John Bartram’s Cat’s favorite spirit.

For most of my early life, religion forbade me to imbibe.  In age, I’ve turned that corner and reflect on Seneca’s wisdom:  “Let us drink, for we must die.”  Temperance and forbearance aside, there is a newly introduced liqueur crafted from some of my best intentions and surest herbs.

Benjamin Franklin sent me a case of Rhubarb roots in 1770.  I planted them and they thrived.  From my garden, it was introduced to the rest of North America.  Long esteemed for its medicinal properties, Rheum, was traded by its root only.  It was many years before people came to understand that the stalks and leaves could be used for culinary benefit also. 

I was the first to make a tea out of extractions from the leaf.  It was delicious fortified with other steeped herbs and flavoured with sugar or honey.  Now someone has taken my elixir and increased the proof of its benefit.

I take the quotes directly from the manufacturer in Philadelphia (but the photographs are my own!)

“RHUBY is based on a centuries old Pennsylvania recipe and is totally unique in the marketplace. There has never been anything like it…at least not since 1771. This is the year Ben Franklin sent John Bartram America’s first rhubarb seeds. Bartram proceeded to make a delicious garden tea with rhubarb, beets, carrots, lemon, petitgrain, cardamom, pink peppercorn, coriander, vanilla, and pure cane sugar. We took this recipe and turned it into a spirit!  There are as many ways to enjoy Rhuby as there are vegetables in a summer garden.”  http://www.artintheage.com/spirits-products/introducing-rhuby/

The producers have included a wonderful small broadside that they attach to every bottle.  It describes the connection between Franklin, Bartram and Rhubarb.  The purchaser can find my picture in the upper left hand corner of the label.  And my name under it, also!  I thank them for the notice.  Even more, I thank them for this truly enjoyable decoction.  It is noble in its originality and venerable in its history.  Even my cat has a nose for it–as demonstrated above.

At this time of year, it is especially appropriate to think about the creativity we all enjoy in celebrations.  This libation would garner untold and rapturous praise for the crafty host or hostess who served it. 

To your health and good will!

Rhuby John Bartram Kirk R. Brown

Rhuby enjoys its moment in the spotlight on John Bartram's kitchen counter