During September’s First Friday I popped in at Art in the Age to see the new show by the Reverend Michael Alan’s new show – a collection of drawings that eventually influenced the design of the AITA’s Rhuby label. Not yet able to find a bottle on the shelves, I was delighted to try this new spirit (I’ve only been waiting for months!) In 1771, Ben Franklin sent our nations first botanist, John Bartrum* a packet of rhubarb seeds from Britian,and America had a new, sourly delicious crop. Bartrum, smart man that he was, concocted a “garden tea” rhubarb, beets, carrots, lemon, petitgrain, cardamom, pink peppercorn, coriander, vanilla, and pure cane sugar. This early beverage is the inspiration for Root. Below you can see a slightly fuzzy photo that illustrates these influence.
If you haven’t tried Root or Snap, previous liquors in the AITA organic spirits line, it’s difficult to explain their dense spicy/sweet flavor profiles. On a simple level, though, I’d say that Root is most like bourbon, Snap is most like rum, and Rhuby is most like gin – crisp and vegetal with a touch of spice. AITA was serving it with tonic, but I made sure to try some on the rocks, just so I could tell you about it; s unmixed flavor, of course. Have you tried Rhuby yet? What are you drinking it with? AITA has a few ideas….
*If you haven’t been to Bartrum’s Garden, a treasure in Southwest Philadelphia, you really must get yourself there.