Okay, so as two Americans brought up during the golden age of soda, before Tab was deemed cancer causing and high-fructose corn syrup invaded every other sugary can, ginger ale was often thought of as the cure to whatever ailed you, whether that be childish fever or very grown-up morning-after hangover.
It took a certain sophistication, and introduction by a good barback, ideally, to help discover the tangy, spicy and sophisticated complexity that can be ginger beer, a wholly different category more common to Europe and Australia.
According to the makers of one of our two favorites of this Taste 5, Bundaberg, ginger beer is made from dried ginger root ground to a crumbly flour. Then something disgusting sounding, a wort, is made by combining the ground ginger with cane sugar and water. The whole is heated and fermented with yeast, yep, just like beer. Bundaberg then ages the concoction, which is fully concentrated at this point, giving it time to mellow and mature. Water is added before bottling to dilute the heady stew.
We loved its gentle ginger-y qualities and inviting spiciness, making us feel anything but sick. Instead, rather alive. Nice.
Our other favorite ginger experience was a bit of a surprise, though I don’t know why. Fever Tree ginger ale has long been a quality product and we’re big fans of just about everything they do. I guess just in tasting a line-up of five ginger drinks it was more of a revelation. We’ve probably taken it for granted all this time – classic in its proportion of gingery spiciness with refreshingly smooth carbonation and length. Made from ginger sourced in Nigeria and the Ivory Coast, it’s yummy, for sure. Get the rum, a Dark & Stormy is your logical next step.