The spicy thrust of ginger combined with the fresh citrusy aroma. Ginger beer is the drink of the moment, in the wake of the success of fermented foods and drinks. We ranked the 8 best premium products according to a panel of food & beverage tasters and authentic mixology artists. To drink absolute, or mixed in classic cocktails (Moscow Mule, first and foremost) and new concept signature drinks
Ginger beer: a summer drink
Enjoyed cold straight from the fridge or on the rocks, with the cool comfort of cascading ice cubes, absolute or perfumed with mint leaves and a slice of lime. Ginger beer is the summer drink par excellence, and the trendiest among non-alcoholic beverages. Loved by bartenders, by cocktail lovers and by those who enjoy the freshness of citrus and the spicy strength of ginger over a soft drink or a lager. Bartenders and barladies who remain in the reassuring groove of classical mixology prepare a Moscow Mule, the traditional long drink born in 1941 in New York but associated with Russia for the presence Vodka, served by purists in a copper cup. Creative types in the art of mixology ginger beer as a basis for innovative cocktails (see tips in the sidebar)
Ginger beer vs ginger ale
Ginger beer has a very low alcohol content, barely 0.5%. What is the difference with ginger ale, that’s a soft drink? The latter was born in the United States and is basically ginger-flavoured carbonated water. The beer type, on the other hand, was born in England in the 1700s and is the result of the fermentation of the ginger root along with lime or lemon, sugar and yeast. Often acidifiers and antioxidants (citric acid, ascorbic acid, tartaric acid), stabilizers, unidentified aromas and preservatives are added. If this historic British drink has become fashionable in recent years it’s probably due to the recent widespread passion for fermented foods.
Ginger beer brands
The brands that have introduced ginger beer in their assortment of soft drinks are multiplying on the market. The rediscovery of this historic drink owes a lot to the “Moscow mule” and the fact that it’s experiencing a second youth. Premium soft drink companies use ginger root and natural flavourings. To these high-end products we dedicate our latest rank feature, the selection of a blind tasting of over 20 ginger beers, which was attended by a mixed panel of food & beverage tasters and mixologist (the complete list will be published online in the coming weeks).
Ginger beer for cocktails
Contrasting opinions ensued. While the pure tasters are focused on the absolute flavour of the drink, bartenders have completely different mental structure and goals. “Imagine how to mix it, if it’s the right product to enhance nuances of your drink“, explains Cinzia Ferro, world champion of national and international mixology competitions and recently bar manager of Piano35 Lounge Bar in Turin.
by Mara Nocilla