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The Return Of Rhubarb

The Return Of Rhubarb



Ingredient: Rhubarb
Variety: Victoria, Sutton, Stockbridge Arrow + Raspberry Red
Farmer: Fraser McDonald + Various English Growers
Location: Arbroath, Scotland + Yorkshire, Herefordshire and Worcester, England.
Time of Year: February - June (“forced” season starts early)
Number of Batches: 6 in 2024


Next Release: May 2024

Spring has officially sprung and that means it’s rhubarb time, you soda loving lot.

Our lady of the bunch with a perfect balance of elegance and sultry sass, our Rhubarb soda has always been a firm favourite every year. But we have to admit that when we quadrupled our output in 2023, we weren’t capturing the flavour you expected or that we should have delivered. That’s why we’ve been busy rectifying this, and we think you’ll like what we’ve done. You spoke, and we heard ya. And then some.

After scouring our flavour focused brains and the land, we have decided to throw out our “single origin” approach this year. We found out the hard way that all it takes to diminish a batch of our cans is a heavy influx of bad weather or an unreliable logistics partner that fails to deliver on time.

Our Rhubarb Soda was one of the first we ever brought to market in 2019. A far cry from anything we could find on the market, earthy and delicate because we macerate our stalks overnight as well as juice in order to pull that natural acidity and raw taste.

We have worked with Fraser McDonald in Arbroath for over 4 years now, having persuaded him to stop planting yet more turnips in his unique maritime climate. Fraser was one of the few growers who could work with us without excess packaging & he was able to get his crop to us within 24 hrs of picking it. That’s no mean feat when you’re talking about tonnes of premium produce. He’s a top fella and farmer, and he still provides the lion's share of the rhubarb that you’ll find in each and every can.

Fast forward to 2023 and our exclusively macerated approach was becoming hard to scale. Scottish weather has become increasingly temperamental and securing the best crops with the right colour and size became near impossible. We had to rethink our approach, and widen our discussions on region and variety if we were to continue delivering only the best to you. We always say that fresh is best, but RAW is better. That’s why getting a steady supply of the best crops from around the UK means less variation between batches and a higher baseline of quality.

With an unwavering commitment to quality and flavour, we’ve revved up the rhubarb recipe for 2024. This year, we’re spreading our wings and working with growers from all over - our favourite sunny Scotland as always but also on to Yorkshire and Herefordshire to source the absolute cream of the crop and create a bit of a wonder group of growers, a powerhouse of premium produce and a perfectly balanced final product. The best of the best. The royalty amongst the rhubarb.

We’re also hoping to extend our season by working with a new variety in 2024, Raspberry Red, known for its colour and creaminess.

Let’s get in to the nitty gritty of that stalky, vegetable-y looking thing you usually see in your Gran’s garden. We promise you’ll get to the end of this deep dive and realise she was right all along…



We stock up on produce every Spring at around April/May, weather and harvest permitting. After the cold dark months, we start sourcing the best crops from across the UK, strike a deal with a handshake, then race the good stuff back home to our canning plant, in the deepest, darkest Gorbals of Glasgow.

We have hand selected only the best varieties of outdoor grown rhubarb in 2024. Balancing crops from Scotland and England allows us to produce for a longer period with less batch by batch variation than previous years. The blend of pressed juice and raw outdoor grown stalks from multiple farmers ensures a silky consistent base.

We love sourcing richly coloured rhubarb which usually suggests it has had plenty of time to ripen in the field, but we can’t always demand the red stuff. It’s a case of working with the growers and understanding how weather affects the crop. Rhubarb’s vivid pink or red skin (depending on the type) contrasts beautifully with its green vegetal flesh when macerating overnight , adding a natural peachy pop of colour once the raw organic cane sugar has done it’s magic.

Most varieties can be harvested from late April or May, while early varieties can be picked from March or April. Although the stems remain edible and tasty through to the middle of summer, the harvest generally stops in June as by then the stalks usually become tough and stringy. And nobody likes a tough and stringy fizzy juice.



Our soda now utilises a handful of varieties that allow us to produce for three months of the year. We blend Victoria, Sutton, Stockbridge Arrow and Raspberry Red - a relentlessly trialled and tested harmony that, if we don’t say ourselves, we think is the rhubarb equivalent of the bees knees.

The ‘Victoria’ variety can be traced back to the early 19th century. It’s one of the oldest rhubarb varieties on the current market – and it’s still going strong due to its myriad of qualities. It’s dependable and bountiful and its strong stalks are deep red in colour with an exquisite flavour. The taste is slightly more bitter than the other varieties but it remains a firm favourite in Scotland. Balanced with the sweeter varieties and oh baby are we on to something fan-bloody-tastic.

‘The Sutton’ variety we pull in due to it being hailed as having one of the best flavours of any rhubarb, and rightly so. ‘Stockbridge Arrow’ was developed primarily in England during the 1960s and is a more recent addition to the rhubarb canon but is in no way any less popular - a newbie on the block but a goodie. It’s said to be the premium choice for you greenfingered folk and yer Gran may well have it in her own garden. Its stalks produce a delicious taste bursting with sweetness. An all-rounder on the variety front.

We round it all off with ‘Raspberry Red’ - a bit like the ‘Stockbridge Arrow’ variety in its relative newness to the rhubarb canon and providing stalks that literally burst with flavour and sweetness.



Standard Rhubarb Soda not hitting the mark?
That’s usually because you’ll find a list of ingredients on these drinks which are anything but rhubarb. Trust us, we’ve taste tested to the nines and drunk our fair share of competitors!

Creating a balanced Rhubarb Soda is no simple feat. It’s our job to lift the naturally acidic Rhubarb without swamping it with sugar unlike those rhubarb pies or crumbles you might nostalgically remember. We source the freshest, juiciest and down right bestest rhubarb and then begin by macerating the rhubarb stalks overnight, extracting their natural acidity and raw essence. The cold, patient infusion process begins and leaving the product overnight allows us to slowly draw out all the earthy tones and bright aromas you want to capture from this plant.

Hand crushing Sichuan pepper, also known as pink or ghost pepper, we dust this over the infusion to add a bite and help balance out the flavours over the natural variances and bitterness present in the rhubarb. A cheeky peppery numb to the tongue whilst adding body and weight to the liquid.

Then it’s time to add the magic and the oomph; zesting pink grapefruit, we candy this in an ancient process to bond the flavours to the oils and finally we whirlpool the whole lot together before filtering and carbonating with freezing cold Scottish freshwater and seal all the goodness into a can immediately.

This meticulous process results in a soda that is as earthy as it is delicate with a natural bite, a true testament to the craftsmanship behind each sip. An elegant, characterful expression of rhubarb in fizzy juice form that we’re proud of.

Finally, we pasteurise and wrap them up with love ready to send to you.



Fruit or vegetable? Don’t worry, we won’t debate that here but all we do know is that even Marco Polo sought it out in the 13th century for its reputable cathartic qualities. Here at Rapscallion, after a childhood spent turning our noses up at Mum’s homemade rhubarb crumble, we think we’ve managed to bring it back as not just something grown at the bottom of the garden or to scrunch yer nose up at, and in to a tantalising, earthy and elegant nod to its bountiful qualities and fantastic flavour profile.

An exclusive 6 batches will be made this year and available to you from May.

It’s both bright and delicate. Sultry and refined. And we have no doubt that it will become a favourite tipple of yours. If we’re in any way wrong about that, please share your thoughts and prayers and we’ll discuss it with our Granny at the next reunion as she struts her stuff on the ceilidh dance floor.

Are you ready to experience the sour face pull in all the right ways of our Rhubarb Soda? Mark your calendars, tell Mary and Tom down the road and your Granny whilst you’re at it, and get ready for our next release in May 2024. Prepare to be swept away by the tantalising flavours of Scotland and England. An elegant expression of both thistle and rose. If Braveheart and The Full Monty did rhubarb soda, this would be it. It's more than just a soda though - it's a journey of discovery and delight and one that we’ve refined and re-crafted over the last few months to get it just right.
From field to facility, every step of our Rhubarb Soda’s creation is infused with passion, precision, and a commitment to excellence. Join us as we raise a glass to the unrivalled taste of Rapscallion Soda's rhubarb elixir - a true testament to the art of flavour innovation, never resting and always adapting until each can is perfect.

We Love A Laugh

But we never muck about when it comes to sourcing the best produce and creating the purest flavour.


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