Quest week 2: ginger
There is still a universe to conquer in the field of non-alcoholic drinks. I'm not talking about the zero-zero percent drinks that are offered as an alternative to their alcoholic brothers and sisters. Beautiful and delicious things happen there. In my alcohol-free months, however, they are a bit too similar to me the real stuff, while I'm just trying to break a pattern. The only exception I make is for ginger ale and ginger beer.
I take them with me in my quest for adventurous drinks without alcohol that do not resemble beer and wine too much, but also do not fall under the category of 'home-garden-and-kitchen soft drinks'.
And somehow it fits, that ginger drink, in this week when I get infected with corona. A few months ago, when the delta variant was still rampant with its loss of taste and smell, a corona patient asked me to bring her a ginger shot. I brewed a homemade drink that was so strong, it brought tears to my eyes. The patient later claimed that her sense of smell and taste returned spontaneously after she emptied the entire bottle. Not exactly scientific proof for the medicinal effect of ginger shots, but reason enough to try a different type of ginger drink every day this week. Luckily I had already shopped them for my quarantine time.
First, a quick word about those confusing names ginger beer and ginger ale (and all its variations). Ginger beer is originally a British, alcoholic fermented drink with ginger as the main ingredient. Prohibition in the United States made it an alcohol-free drink with a bite. Ginger ale is the milder brother of ginger beer and consists of carbonated water mixed with ginger juice. Ginger beer is still a beer in that sense, that the drink really undergoes a brewing process. This is not the case with ginger ale.
Again I shop for them in the four supermarkets in my neighborhood (including an organic and an Asian one). The choice is huge, and so is the variety. Some brands have as many as three different variants and both the ale and the beer variant are widely available on the shelves. I count a total of fifteen different brands divided into the categories: shots, soft drinks and lemonade.
The fizzy ginger drinks are the most mainstream and by far the majority. From own brand to niche brand… Everyone has plunged into the drink. Nice, because there is a lot of variation possible, from sugarless with pit, to very sweet drinking drink. More stimulating and adventurous than a coke and a great alternative to a beer. My personal preference is for the less sweet with a clear ginger flavour. But my biggest favorite is the pink ginger beer, which rivals a cocktail with a lemon slice and a sprig of mint.
I'll save the lemonades until next week, when I'll be busy with mocktails. I think they are a perfect basis for that.
Finally, the ginger shots. In terms of toughness, they are not inferior to their alcohol-rich variants, I notice. In fact, the sensation they create is amazing. It makes my nose tickle, making me sneeze. I feel the bacteria in my throat take a final blow and the warm feeling in my esophagus feels cathartic. The taste is so overwhelming that all my senses are on edge. I don't think that taste is immediately very tasty, but I feel as healthy after three sips as Popeye after a can of spinach. wow!
And whether it's a coincidence or not… After a week at least two ginger drinks every day, I don't feel any more corna.
Margreet (51) lives with her husband and teenage son in the middle of the country. She is now an experienced IkPasser, and during 40 days she does not go looking for alcohol-free alternatives that make her happy.