Everything you need to know about Ginger Beer.
If you were to type the simple question “what is ginger beer” into Google, you receive this concise, albeit lacking generated definition as a result:
a cloudy, effervescent drink made from a mixture of ginger and syrup.
WRONG. I mean, not technically incorrect, but since no one at Google thought to ask the staff of Saucey for our input on this particular definition, we feel it comes up a bit short.
First of all, syrup? Not quiet. Traditional ginger beers (i.e. ones not being massively produced by a major soda distribution corporation) are fermented beverages, a process that mirrors the brewing of regular beer, using a symbiotic colony of yeast and a Lactobacillus (bacteria). The sweetness, and distinct spiciness, occurs from natural ginger root. While we appreciate the frilly use of a good synonym, “effervescent” really means carbonated and “cloudy” as best we can tell is where they try to draw the distinction between ginger beer versus ginger ale. They even forget to mention that ginger beer is non-alcoholic (usually) which is often confusing using the “beer” titling away from a can of A&W. It’s cool though Google, can’t win ‘em all.
The most glaringly negated attribute of ginger beer though is this, it is the master of simple cocktails; a true jack of all trades in so far as mixers are concerned. By now we can bet that most folks have had a Dark ‘n Stormy and most definitely a Moscow Mule or two. These cocktails are ubiquitous, almost as classic as a dirty martini. But vodka and rum are barely half the story, ginger beer is just as fantastic when paired with whiskey, tequila, hell…even gin. We’ve tried our best to make ordering a Gin ‘n Ging stick, it’s off to a slow start so far.
You’d never order a whiskey and grapefruit. At least we’re really hoping you wouldn’t do that. Tequila and soda probably isn’t terribly gross with enough lime to balance it out. But if you’re really looking for an easy mix, whether it’s because you have only about an 8th of the bottle left on a variety of spirits collecting dust on your wet bar or you’re looking to keep a night out simple, ginger beer is there for you. Here are a few of our favorites.
Australian, slightly spicy, boutique production but relatively easy to find. Always in stock at World Market, with the added bonus of a cute kangaroo on the label.
Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew
Still a relatively small operation, Reed’s boasts a variety of flavors all touting the benefits of being all-natural, preservative free, and non GMO. They make an excellent product that is undoubtedly the
easiest to find of this list.
Fentiman’s Botanically Brewed Ginger Beer
Fentiman’s has an impressive list of naturally brewed, hand crafted sodas in their repertoire and their ginger beer is no exception. This one is definitely strongest ginger flavor on the list, so be mindful before committing to a case.
Gosling’s Ginger Beer
Gosling’s was specifically designed to be paired with the rum distilled by the same company but has slowly taken over the bar scene, it’s canned over bottled approach is likely the reason for this if not just because it’s dang good.
I am not sure of the date of this post, I have tried Bundaberg, Fentiman’s and Gosling’s ginger beers, I must say that, in my humble opinion, the best of the bunch is Reed’s. Reed’s gets better with the Stronger or Extra Ginger Beers.