've always loved ginger-y food and drinks, and I think the world is catching on. Ginger is refreshing and zesty - sometimes even spicy. Ginger ale is an in-flight favorite, and gingersnap cookies (or, molasses crinkles, if you rather) have been putting smiles on the faces of grandmas and grandkids for ages. I'm still developing a taste for the pickled slices that accompany sushi, but when I was in college, we occasionally concocted an elementary potion of gin and ginger ale. We dubbed it "gin & gin" or "the double gin" or something like that. Whatever we called it, it was delicious. Like a lot of college-kid cocktails, the sweet ginger ale cloaked the booze flavor, increasing its drinkability. Maybe we were before our time, because lately ginger is making a big statement in cocktails all over the place, it seems.
Take for example the Local's signature cocktail, "The Big Ginger". I recently enjoyed this drink at happy hour and was very pleased - it had a just-right mix of warm whiskey flavor and ginger beer fizz. I especially liked having wedges of both lime and lemon to squeeze into it. They also offer a diet version dubbed "The Skinny Ginger".
Then, I learned of the Pimm's Cup, thanks to Orangette. After following Molly's blog and reading her book A Homemade Life, I have come to trust her recommendations. When she said the Pimm's Cup was a gin-based drink, I was definitely intrigued. When I went to the Craftsman and saw it on the menu, I took a chance. It was delicious! Sort of strange and different - darker than I thought it would be, and with floating bits of cucumber in the glass. I really liked it. I thought it seemed easy enough to make at home, and like a good summer cocktail. Once I got a hold of a bottle of Pimms No. 1, though, I was a bit confused - the liquid was dark and smelled a bit like Jagermeister - not like gin at all. And the label described it as a liqueur, which although surprising seemed fitting, considering its sweet-ish and syrupy quality. But whatever it is or was expected to be, it was great mixed with quality ginger beer (also a new experience) and a bit of garden-fresh cucumber, over ice.
The Longfellow Grill, one of my longtime favorite happy hour spots, recently featured a cocktail with a piece of candied ginger speared over the top of the glass. I never did order the drink (it has since been removed from the menu), but my bartender friend once slipped me a piece to taste. I loved it! Perhaps candied ginger will pave the way to the next phase of ginger love.