Thursday, February 7, 2008

Ginger Saga - Final Words (for Now)

Despite my recent (and somewhat extensive) posts about ginger beers, ginger liqueurs and such, I managed to stumble upon a few things to add after I posted them. Here's a brief addendum to those recent posts, covering some additional ginger beers/sodas and that elusive Canton ginger liqueur.

Ginger Beers Part III
No sooner did we complete our taste tests of ginger beers, than a few more potential contenders appeared. One of our mixologist friends, Tim Lacey, is making his own ginger beer at Custom House. It's fantastic, with rich ginger notes and a touch of heat. Unfortunately you have to go there to taste it. He is serving it as a non-alcoholic drink choice, but you can have his team whip up a cocktail with it if you like.

And I happened to visit my favorite store in Chicago for esoteric sodas (West Lakeview Liquors), and I found none other than cult-favorite Blenheim's ginger ale from South Carolina (both the #5 regular and #3 extra spicy, which are in the exact same packaging except for the color of the cap). According to BevNet, their ginger beer is actually less flavorful and spicy than these two ginger ales, so I got these two.

The #3 was indeed extra spicy (with the most heat of any of the beers we tried by far). It was nice in a Moscow Mule, I liked it better that way than on its own. The #5 was lighter in spice, but still had a nice spice note. It was lighter than the other ginger beers, but more flavorful than most ginger ales. We liked the #5 best on its own. Bundaberg is still my favorite ginger beer overall, but these were very fun to try.

And wouldn't you know it...

No sooner did I post about the Massenez ginger liqueur, than I spotted a bottle of the elusive Canton Ginger Liqueur at Nacional 27 in Chicago. Last Friday night, my friendly bartender Loronz (at right with the bottle) was kind enough to give me a little taste of this liqueur.

How was it?
It was pale straw color, with a rich, straightforward ginger flavor. It definitely has some nice heat, along with some subtle spices that complement the ginger. It wasn't as different from the Massenez as I expected it to be. The key difference was in the ginger heat, and it was slightly more complex/spicy. Since I can't buy it in Chicago anyway, I'll happily use up my Massenez and then see where I am.

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