Perk up the Christmas party with fiery ginger beer, iced tea and even rhubarb.
A couple of years ago I held a small panel session tasting ginger beers, as reported in All At Sea in January 2013. Fentimans non-alcoholic version came out top for ginger flavour and Crabbies Original was the favourite alcoholic brew we sampled.
“We liked the idea that ginger is reputed to have amazing healing powers, perfect as a winter warmer and a summer antidote to sea sickness,” they said. That’s quite widely held folklore and not necessarily scientifically valid but, even as far back as 500 BC, ginger was used as a medicine and food flavouring in China and India.
Since the test, the range of brewed alcoholic ginger beers has grown with different variations of the genre and supermarkets introducing own-label versions, always a sure sign of a growing consumer interest.
FIERY GINGER BEER
Waitrose Fiery Alcoholic Ginger Beer is one. Sporting an appropriate rustic burnished gold label and 4 per cent strong like most seem to be, it is fiery, tongue-tingling and unexpectedly light coloured when freed from its dark brown glass bottle. And, at £1.97 per 500ml, just a bit cheaper than an equivalent micro-brewery real ale.
Fentimans non-alcoholic ginger beer has a much more sophisticated taste than the childhood ginger beers the Swallows and Amazons took to sea as their ‘grog’. £1.20 per 275ml screw-top bottle, it is a great drink on its own for drivers or cadet sailors. Mix it with Goslings Bermuda rum to make the sailor’s favourite Dark and Stormy cocktail, much imitated with other rums but actually a product brand name owned worldwide by Goslings.
Read In The Drink every month in All At Sea
Read more in the December 2014 edition of All At Sea