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View Full Version : Best ginger ales/brews for bourbon/rye



StraightNoChaser
10-07-2011, 13:37
I've been experimenting with several ginger brews lately and testing their compatibility with whiskey. Here are my favorite results so far:

Blenheim Red Cap
The mother of all ginger ales! Light up front but with a huge spicy ginger bite at the end. So far I've mixed it with OWA and Bulleit with fantastic results!

Maine Root Ginger Brew
My second favorite so far in my endeavors. Sweeter and less spicy that Blenheim but still very good. Wonderful texture too. Still has a spicy ginger kick at the end. Was beautiful with Four Roses Small Batch!

Bundaberg Ginger Beer
Used this to make a Kentucky Mule, which is like a Moscow Mule with bourbon instead of vodka. Was excellent!

Sprecher Ginger Brew
This was a light and dry ginger brew. We mixed it with Bulleit and fresh spiced cider. A very refreshing fall cocktail. Would have also been good warm instead of on ice.

moose
10-07-2011, 14:23
Reed's Extra Ginger Brew
Spiciest, most dominantly ginger beer, all time favorite, extremely balanced, my all time favorite

Bundaberg Ginger Beer
Excellent all arounder, not too powerful

Cock N' Bull Ginger Beer
Almost as much of a kick as Reed's, #2 favorite.

cowdery
10-07-2011, 18:19
The main thing to consider about ginger-based sodas is that there is a great range out there and the most fun thing is to taste them for yourself. Even among the major brands there is quite a diversity of flavors.

That said, I always have to recommend Ale-8-One (http://ale8one.com/) which, as the only ginger ale that's Kentucky born and bred, has a particular affinity for bourbon.

StraightNoChaser
10-08-2011, 05:47
Reed's Extra Ginger Brew
Spiciest, most dominantly ginger beer, all time favorite, extremely balanced, my all time favorite

Bundaberg Ginger Beer
Excellent all arounder, not too powerful

Cock N' Bull Ginger Beer
Almost as much of a kick as Reed's, #2 favorite.
I had the Reed's Premium and didn't really care for it, was quite fruity and mild despite saying "STRONG GINGER BITE" on the bottle. I did see the Extra Ginger Brew while at the store, perhaps I'll get it next time

cigarnv
10-08-2011, 07:28
Give this a try.....

Ginger Syrup
cup sugar (fine turbinado)
cup water
lb. fresh ginger root (peeled and finely grated)
In a small saucepan bring the sugar, water, and ginger to a boil. Turn off the heat, and allow to steep and cool for one hour. Strain off the ginger pieces, and reserve the syrup.


Add a bit of seltzer and the bourbon of your choice. I don't peel my ginger and find that adds a bit more zip. Use the freshest ginger you can find as I feel it loses heat as it gets older....

moose
10-08-2011, 10:21
I had the Reed's Premium and didn't really care for it, was quite fruity and mild despite saying "STRONG GINGER BITE" on the bottle. I did see the Extra Ginger Brew while at the store, perhaps I'll get it next time

Yes, their original one is not quite as good in my opinion, it is good if you do like the fruitiness because thats not often found in other ginger ales. However the Extra Ginger brew does pack quite a punch, much better if you do want that spicy ginger kick.

smokinjoe
10-08-2011, 12:01
Red Rock is another one that will kick you in the throat if you're not careful. Very spicy. I like Ale-8 if I'm in the mood for a softer, fruitier flavor. I find it mixes particularly well with Bulleit Rye. I'll take regular Canada Dry for just a simple Rye & Ginger, but I'll usually through a few shakes of Regan's Orange Bitters in there to liven it up a bit.

timd
10-08-2011, 15:25
Vernor's is a unique Ginger Ale from the Michigan area - I don't know that you can find it outside of the great lakes area, but it's a good one, if you want to try something different.

I'm looking forward to trying the Blenheim's, though - love the big ginger burn!

moose
10-09-2011, 01:15
Vernor's is a unique Ginger Ale from the Michigan area - I don't know that you can find it outside of the great lakes area, but it's a good one, if you want to try something different.

I'm looking forward to trying the Blenheim's, though - love the big ginger burn!

Vernor's isn't very limited, it is on grocery store shelfs here in Colorado, its a nice ginger ale, but I found it to be very mainstream, real sugary and syrupy; it did have a ginger bite to it though. Came off as a Canada Dry with a little more ginger, and being a little more viscous.

SMOWK
10-09-2011, 14:57
Give this a try.....

Ginger Syrup
cup sugar (fine turbinado)
cup water
lb. fresh ginger root (peeled and finely grated)
In a small saucepan bring the sugar, water, and ginger to a boil. Turn off the heat, and allow to steep and cool for one hour. Strain off the ginger pieces, and reserve the syrup.


Add a bit of seltzer and the bourbon of your choice. I don't peel my ginger and find that adds a bit more zip. Use the freshest ginger you can find as I feel it loses heat as it gets older....

I also recommend trying this recipe. I've made a few batches of this up and it is fantastic.

smokinjoe
10-09-2011, 15:06
Vernor's is a unique Ginger Ale from the Michigan area - I don't know that you can find it outside of the great lakes area, but it's a good one, if you want to try something different.

I'm looking forward to trying the Blenheim's, though - love the big ginger burn!

Thanks for the mention of Vernor's, Tim. I've loved it for years. My grandpa Leo and grandma Mary used to bring it to us when when they visited us when we were kids. We get it now, down here in Georgia, but haven't picked it up in some time. Oddly, I've never tried it with bourbon. Maybe, I'll try it later this week.

cowdery
10-09-2011, 19:43
Vernor's is here in Chicago. It seems to be well-distributed, at least here in the Midwest. It has a very unusual flavor.

Seagram's ginger ale has been on a big push here in Chicago. It's pretty similar to Canada Dry, but attractive at 99 cents for a 2-liter.

StraightNoChaser
10-10-2011, 14:19
Damn, $.99?? I've been paying nearly $2 for a 2L of Seagrams!!!

StraightNoChaser
10-10-2011, 14:20
Give this a try.....

Ginger Syrup
cup sugar (fine turbinado)
cup water
lb. fresh ginger root (peeled and finely grated)
In a small saucepan bring the sugar, water, and ginger to a boil. Turn off the heat, and allow to steep and cool for one hour. Strain off the ginger pieces, and reserve the syrup.


Add a bit of seltzer and the bourbon of your choice. I don't peel my ginger and find that adds a bit more zip. Use the freshest ginger you can find as I feel it loses heat as it gets older....

Sounds good, almost like my friends fresh ginger tea

unclebunk
10-10-2011, 15:18
Thanks for the mention of Vernor's, Tim. I've loved it for years. My grandpa Leo and grandma Mary used to bring it to us when when they visited us when we were kids. We get it now, down here in Georgia, but haven't picked it up in some time. Oddly, I've never tried it with bourbon. Maybe, I'll try it later this week.

Vernor's is pretty much all I buy, unless I'm out and can't find it at a particular store. I've never mixed it with bourbon but often have it with Rittenhouse Rye and find it delicious. Give it a spin!

Jono
10-11-2011, 18:20
Ralfy mentions this soft drink in his recent vlog #222:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irn-Bru

Irn-Bru..."iron brew"

Supposedly it is distributed world wide but probably concentrated in Scottish ex-pat areas. I cannot say that I have seen it around my area and if I did I would not have had a clue as to what it was...apparently it is a cinnamon rose water ginger citrus type of soda.

" Compliant Irn-Bru is solely imported by Great Scot International in Charlotte, North Carolina, who supplies distributors and retailers throughout the US. It is only supplied in 500 mL."

smokinjoe
10-11-2011, 19:45
Vernor's is pretty much all I buy, unless I'm out and can't find it at a particular store. I've never mixed it with bourbon but often have it with Rittenhouse Rye and find it delicious. Give it a spin!

Thanks, Hank. I will pick up some tomorrow. No RBIB on tap, so I'll go with Triple R
:toast:

unclebunk
10-12-2011, 08:02
Thanks, Hank. I will pick up some tomorrow. No RBIB on tap, so I'll go with Triple R
:toast:

I think you'll enjoy the combination, Joe. The Vernor's really does marry well with rye whiskey IMO. Might have to join you on that ginger ale and rye today while enjoying the last genuinely warm day we're supposed to have around here before things turn rainy and cold.

SMOWK
10-12-2011, 13:16
With all of the ginger talk and experimentation lately, I came across a "Powell & Mahoney Limited 1881 Original Recipe Old BallyCastle Ginger Micro Batch All-Natural Cocktail Mixer." Slides right off the tongue...

Ingredients: Filtered Water, Organic Sugar, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Natural Ginger Flavor, Ginger Extract, Fennel Extract, Elderflower Extract, Milk Thistle Extract, Caramel Color.

Going with me to my fathers house tonight. The girlfriend teaches GED classes tonight, and my mom is going to her bowling league. Just two guys hanging out with Bourbon, Ginger, and a homemade pizza. I'll report back later.

http://powellandmahoney.com/ginger.html

SMOWK
10-12-2011, 19:34
I must say, highly recommended. SPICY, not as sweet as I assumed. A hint of cinnamon (could've been the ogd114). I will definitely buy more of this.

jburlowski
10-13-2011, 15:53
Ale 8 One... Why are we talking about the rest. :lol:

stiffchainey
11-19-2011, 07:39
I prefer Schweppes Ginger Ale, but haven't had a different one in years. Schweppes is probably the best in europe. Haven't tasted any non-european ginger ales. On vacation in Los Angeles (2004) i had some bourbon with ginger ale on different clubs along sunset strip and they all tasted great, but dunno which brands.

Ejmharris
11-21-2011, 18:09
Ale 8 One... Why are we talking about the rest. :lol:

Agreed, Ale 8 is king. Although there are some very good others they are 5x the price.

cowdery
11-30-2011, 17:14
I agree that Ale-8-One is number one, but I can't haul enough Ale-8-One to Chicago to fix me between Kentucky trips.

Also, most of the boutique ginger ales are sharper, more bitter, so good if you're in that kind of mood.

In what I can get here at Ale-8-One type prices, I prefer Seagram's and Canada Dry, but I'd rather have Ale-8-One.

I keep bugging people at Binny's to start bringing it in. They got Very Old Barton, after all.

T Comp
12-01-2011, 05:33
I agree that Ale-8-One is number one, but I can't haul enough Ale-8-One to Chicago to fix me between Kentucky trips.

Also, most of the boutique ginger ales are sharper, more bitter, so good if you're in that kind of mood.

In what I can get here at Ale-8-One type prices, I prefer Seagram's and Canada Dry, but I'd rather have Ale-8-One.

I keep bugging people at Binny's to start bringing it in. They got Very Old Barton, after all.

Ale-8-One (and the 6 year HH BIB) not even sold in the western Kentucky, Henderson/Owensboro area, either. I have to go there several times a year and sure keep looking. My case I brought back from Bardstown in September is nothing but empty bottles now too.

Adding insult to injury in my visits to that area is the recent closing of Ralph's Hickory Pit BBQ in Henderson. I'm still not over the shuttering of the Shady Rest BBQ in Owensboro and now this :cry: .

Beer&Bourbon
12-01-2011, 07:56
No Ale-8-One in Western KY? I can pick it up on shelves as far north as Dayton as well as throughout N KY/Cincinnati area. I had a childhood friend whose dad made several trips a year to KY to pick the stuff up. It's not bad, but much sweeter than I'm looking for.

For those in Cincinnati, I recommend The Comet's special. I forgot what they call it, but it's their homemade ginger ale with (crown or jack or something) - the point is that you can order it with WT 101 and it's fantastic. Nice ginger heat with tons of thick body on it. If you haven't been, their tofu jerk burrito is awesome as well; far superior to the chicken, which I have found to be dry on several occasions.

T Comp
12-01-2011, 08:43
No Ale-8-One in Western KY? ...

I've looked but not come across. Here is a link to their distribution map which shows an absence in western Kentucky...though it does seem to indicate the Henderson/Owensboro area could have it??? Maybe I have to look better. http://ale8one.com/sales

cowdery
12-01-2011, 11:48
I sometimes have trouble finding it even in Louisville. I haven't figured out anyplace that always has it in good supply. My last stock came in Louisville, where the first Kroger's didn't have any and the second only had four six-packs, all of which I bought. Now I have a friend here hooked on the stuff, so I have to share.

Yet I once found a huge supply of it in a Walmart in Mansfield, Ohio, so go figure.

OscarV
12-19-2011, 13:53
Give this a try.....

Ginger Syrup
cup sugar (fine turbinado)
cup water
lb. fresh ginger root (peeled and finely grated)
In a small saucepan bring the sugar, water, and ginger to a boil. Turn off the heat, and allow to steep and cool for one hour. Strain off the ginger pieces, and reserve the syrup.


Add a bit of seltzer and the bourbon of your choice. I don't peel my ginger and find that adds a bit more zip. Use the freshest ginger you can find as I feel it loses heat as it gets older....

A most excellent post Reid, you should post more often here on SB.com.

pfiest
03-28-2012, 06:58
Just out of curiousity, how much ginger ale do you guys use? I typically use about a 4-1.5 ratio.

callmeox
03-28-2012, 09:19
Ale 8 One... Why are we talking about the rest. :lol:

It is too sweet for me with little ginger bite. Tack on the added caffeine and I give it a pass.

callmeox
03-28-2012, 09:24
I prefer the local Cotton Club "less sweet" Ginger Ale. It is dirt cheap and damn good. It has a good ginger taste and is not syrupy like many others.

I'll try to remember to bring a case down to the sampler.

ThomasH
04-02-2012, 06:33
The Ale 8 I bought 2 years ago came from Liquor Barn in Louisville at Fern Valley Rd. It was the first place I looked. I have seen it in Columbus, Ohio too!

Thomas

unclebunk
04-02-2012, 07:24
Wish I could get Ale-8-One around here. In the mean time, Vernors and rye does the trick every time on a hot summer evening.

stiffchainey
04-04-2012, 16:41
I orderd Ale One, and I got it finally in Germany. I shared it in the rehearsal room...with my bandmates....:lol:

StraightNoChaser
04-06-2012, 08:48
Just out of curiousity, how much ginger ale do you guys use? I typically use about a 4-1.5 ratio.
3:1 or 2:1 for me

cigarnv
04-06-2012, 12:04
3:1 or 2:1 for me

With Blenheim Red ....I like 3:1 ..... Love it with WT Rye..... my summer patio drink of choice... No better bottle ginger ale IMO... just tough to find..

StraightNoChaser
04-08-2012, 13:35
With Blenheim Red ....I like 3:1 ..... Love it with WT Rye..... my summer patio drink of choice... No better bottle ginger ale IMO... just tough to find..

I have a bottle bunkered in the fridge :lol:

cigarnv
04-10-2012, 04:11
I have a bottle bunkered in the fridge :lol:

Anyone I know who is traveling I-95 between SC and Virginia I get to stop and pick some up... always sitting on a case or two.

sob0728
04-10-2012, 06:58
We have Gosling's ginger beer and it's ok. I actually prefer the sweetness of a ginger ale to the spiciness of a ginger beer for a mixer.

jcg9779
04-10-2012, 08:29
Red Rock is another one that will kick you in the throat if you're not careful. Very spicy.

I picked up a six pack of Red Rock and you're right - it does kick you a bit. After the initially shock of spiciness, I find that this makes a very good bourbon and ginger, especially as the ice melts in the glass some. I had a couple of these last night, and it was a great way to relax after work.

StraightNoChaser
04-11-2012, 16:17
Anyone I know who is traveling I-95 between SC and Virginia I get to stop and pick some up... always sitting on a case or two.
You can order it on their website but the shipping is almost as much as the 24 pack (smallest quantity they'll ship)

peterlake
04-16-2012, 18:48
Oh man, I don't know how I missed this thread for so long. We serve Blenheim Red Cap (I think it's more pink than red, but that's whatever) out of our food cart, nothing goes better with pork belly buns. It is by far my favorite.

I haven't seen anyone mention Bruce Cost Fresh Ginger Ginger Ale, it's also pretty good and purports to be the only widely distributed ginger ale to use fresh ginger, you can see little bits floating around. It's no Blenheim's, but it's worth a taste. It tastes like Japanese ginger iced tea.

As for Vernor's, it was originally a small, family owned company in Detroit, making a quality ginger ale that old timers around here go all starry eyed talking about. At some point it was sold off and eventually wound up in the Pepsi-Cola family, who started producing it on a massive scale (not in Detroit) and distributing it far and wide.

The Boston Cooler also comes from Detroit, a vanilla ice cream and Vernor's milkshake that my dad introduced to me when I was just a little feller. Last summer, in a heat wave fueled fever dream, I made myself a boston cooler subbing Blenheim's red cap and adding, yup, you guessed it, a couple o' shots of the good stuff. Not how I want to enjoy my bourbon every night, but a damn fine treat every now and then.

smokinjoe
04-16-2012, 19:11
Oh man, I don't know how I missed this thread for so long. We serve Blenheim Red Cap (I think it's more pink than red, but that's whatever) out of our food cart, nothing goes better with pork belly buns. It is by far my favorite.

I haven't seen anyone mention Bruce Cost Fresh Ginger Ginger Ale, it's also pretty good and purports to be the only widely distributed ginger ale to use fresh ginger, you can see little bits floating around. It's no Blenheim's, but it's worth a taste. It tastes like Japanese ginger iced tea.

As for Vernor's, it was originally a small, family owned company in Detroit, making a quality ginger ale that old timers around here go all starry eyed talking about. At some point it was sold off and eventually wound up in the Pepsi-Cola family, who started producing it on a massive scale (not in Detroit) and distributing it far and wide.

The Boston Cooler also comes from Detroit, a vanilla ice cream and Vernor's milkshake that my dad introduced to me when I was just a little feller. Last summer, in a heat wave fueled fever dream, I made myself a boston cooler subbing Blenheim's red cap and adding, yup, you guessed it, a couple o' shots of the good stuff. Not how I want to enjoy my bourbon every night, but a damn fine treat every now and then.

Being from Atlanta, I try and avoid anything Pepsi. Coke ONLY here, thank you...:D Hyeevah, I have loved Vernor's for years. It still tickles my nose if I breathe it in right after pouring. And, does make one great bourbon and ginger cocktail. So, if Pepsi owns it, they ain't screwed it up as far as I can tell. Damn....Did I just say that??!!??!!?? I'm...a...Dead Man....

Trey Manthey
04-18-2012, 16:00
Much love for Vernor's here. I mix it with lemonade for a Pimm's cup, or with Drambuie and ice. So smoove...

I've also been experimenting with some G-ales for some whiskey cocktails I've been making. Vernor's is a tad too sweet and not enough spicy BITE for what I'm going for, even though it's way better than Schwepps/Seagrams/etc. Hence, I've picked up a couple four packs of Reed's ginger ale and ginger brew. I'll let you know what I concoct.

DPPSmoker
06-24-2012, 10:59
Oh man, I don't know how I missed this thread for so long. We serve Blenheim Red Cap (I think it's more pink than red, but that's whatever) out of our food cart, nothing goes better with pork belly buns. It is by far my favorite.

I haven't seen anyone mention Bruce Cost Fresh Ginger Ginger Ale, it's also pretty good and purports to be the only widely distributed ginger ale to use fresh ginger, you can see little bits floating around. It's no Blenheim's, but it's worth a taste. It tastes like Japanese ginger iced tea.

As for Vernor's, it was originally a small, family owned company in Detroit, making a quality ginger ale that old timers around here go all starry eyed talking about. At some point it was sold off and eventually wound up in the Pepsi-Cola family, who started producing it on a massive scale (not in Detroit) and distributing it far and wide.

The Boston Cooler also comes from Detroit, a vanilla ice cream and Vernor's milkshake that my dad introduced to me when I was just a little feller. Last summer, in a heat wave fueled fever dream, I made myself a boston cooler subbing Blenheim's red cap and adding, yup, you guessed it, a couple o' shots of the good stuff. Not how I want to enjoy my bourbon every night, but a damn fine treat every now and then.

My wife frequently pulls out the smoothie maker during the summer for our kids. I'm going to try this drink the next time she makes some drinks.

humchan2k
08-30-2012, 18:03
I mean...c'mon, family. This isn't a competition AT ALL, really. Think about it as brewery/distillery fanatics - This stuff is brewed like a beer, it's got some yeasty sediment in it, it should be rolled on the counter to reincorporate all of it's gingery bits in it...and it makes the BEST "Rye n Stormy" of all time....I make one of these almost weekly!

2oz Ritt
3 healthy dashes of Angostura
.5oz 1:1 homemade simple syrup
Ice
Fill with Bundaberg

Serve with a slice of fresh ginger root or flamed orange, depending upon how swanky/motivated you feel.

Nothing is better.

Vernor's = too sweet, too light

Reed's = spicy, but thin...too sweet

Schweppes = LOL...seriously?

If you don't know Bundaberg, go get it...you'll be glad you did.