Ingredient to Know: Ginger
Ginger is a pungent spice with a warming kick, adding its distinct flavor profile to everything from cookies to curries. Historically, ginger was used as both a medicinal aide and a spice. Today, it’s finding its way into cocktails as well, in the form of syrup, liqueur, freshly-cut pieces, and often candied ginger as a garnish.
Ginger is related to turmeric and cardamom, all of them having rhizomes out of which the plants grow, much like tulip or daffodil bulbs. The rhizome is where we source the spice we know so well, which is ground up and dried into a powder. Bartenders making syrups generally slice fresh ginger root and juice it, combining the juice with sugar and sometimes water for a potent simple syrup.
Ginger is also considered an herb, used frequently in natural medicine. Studies have shown that it can help fight cancer, protect against Alzheimer’s Disease, reduce arthritic inflammation, open up inflamed airways, improve circulation, heal frostbite, counter motion sickness, clear sinuses, stimulate appetite and act as a fat burner, relieve tired muscles and help manage glucose levels, improve your breath, increase sexual desire, and even protect against nuclear radiation.
With so many pluses on its side, ginger is a multi-tasker that will make your drink taste good and, quite possibly, make you feel even better. And, while we at Chilled aren’t doctors, we know good “medicine” when we see it. Below are some bibulous prescriptions to try. And if you don’t feel like mixing or shaking, there’s always ginger beer.
Grapefruit and Ginger Sparkler
Courtesy of Kelly Carambula
- 1 oz. Fresh Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
- 1/2 oz. Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
- 3 to 4 oz. Prosecco
- Grapefruit Wedge (for garnish)
Preparation: Pour the grapefruit juice and Domain de Canton in a champagne glass. Gently pour the prosecco over top until glass is nearly full. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge.
Courtesy of Sother Teague
For the Fresh Ginger Syrup:
- 1 1/2 oz. Fresh Ginger (about 4 inches long, peeled)
- 2 tbsp. Sugar
For the Cocktail:
- 2 oz. Bulleit Rye Whiskey
- 3/4 oz. Fresh Ginger Syrup
- 1 oz. Lime Juice (freshly squeezed from 1 to 2 limes)
- Lime Twist or Wheel (for garnish)
Preparation: For the Ginger Syrup: Slice ginger into chunks and place in bottom of mixing glass. Muddle until broken up well. Strain juice through fine-mesh tea strainer, pressing on solids to extract juice. Measure out 1/2 ounce fresh ginger juice, pour into small glass, mix with sugar until dissolved, stirring well. Mixture will be very thick.
For the Cocktail: Pour rye, 3/4 oz. ginger syrup and lime juice into a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake until well chilled, about 15 seconds. Strain into coupe, garnish as desired and serve.
Courtesy of Adam and Joanne Gallagher
- 1 tbsp. Chopped Fresh Ginger
- 2 oz. Vodka
- 1 oz. Orange Flavored Liquor
- 1 oz. White Cranberry Juice
- 1/2 oz. Lime Juice
- 1 Lime Wedge (for garnish)
Preparation: Using a wooden spoon, muddle ginger, vodka and orange liqueur in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add white cranberry juice and lime juice then fill shaker with ice. Shake. Strain cocktail into a martini glass then garnish with lime wedge.
Learn more about the Cosmopolitan, which is featured as the Drink in History in the next issue of Chilled Magazine!