I really only have one requirement for ginger beer. I have to feel it.
To wit: “…the ginger beer has to sting, burn, and fire up the back of your throat. You have to feel it in your nose and down your gullet.”
I found such a ginger beer in Boston — made by Goya — and we used it in all our Black Gosling Dark and Stormys. It was spicy, opaque perfection. Once we moved out here and couldn’t find hide nor hair of Goya, I quested for the perfect ginger beer. Nothing served. Not Bundaberg, not Blenheim, not anything you can possibly name. Believe me. I’ve tried them. ALL of them.
In Andronico’s British food section, I finally found a ginger beer made by Belvoir, and it was good. It burned my nose and tingled my throat, and I was so happy with that sought-after sensation that I ignored the slight tinge of chlorine in the taste that became decidedly pronounced the more I drank.
When I met Tim Warilow of Fever-Tree to sample his newest flavors, I pestered him about ginger beer. Fever-Tree, I argued, was the ideal company to make my favorite type of ginger beer. (Because it’s all about me, right?) Tim just smiled and talked up the merits of their ginger ale. (And, as I’ve noted before, he ain’t just whistling dixie on that one. Fever-Tree makes a killer ginger ale.)
However, a year later, Fever-Tree is now making ginger beer. I got two precious sample bottles in the mail and chilled them both immediately. One I drank as soon as it was cold, but the other is in safekeeping for another month.
In order to best appreciate it, I sipped it neat and not as a mixer. I’ve come to realize that the best mixers are the ones that can be fully enjoyed without alcohol or other things tarting it up. Fever-Tree’s ginger beer is perfection. With each luscious swallow, I feel it trace a satisfyingly fiery path up my nose and down my throat.
And the flavor? Well, it was just ginger. I’m not denigrating the flavor with my “just,” there, I’m elevating it. That’s the flavor, “just ginger,” which is as it should be. There was no chlorine aftertaste, no overt sweetness detracting from what ended up being pure ginger in liquid form.
Fever-Tree’s ginger beer mixes two kinds of ginger: hot Nigerian ginger and fresh green Ecuadorian ginger. Just like all their other products, Fever-Tree’s ginger beer is all natural, which explains the slightly cloudy appearance. For me, that cloudy, opaque look is key when layering up that most perfect of New England summer sips, the Dark and Stormy.
Oh, right — guess what that reserved sample bottle is for? That’s right. As soon as I’m allowed, post-delivery, that cold little bottle is going onto my deck and into my first decent Dark and Stormy in years.