After trying a few different types of commercial ginger beer (I'm especially looking at you, Reed's Extra Ginger Brew), none of them really seemed to have the kick that I was looking for. I tried Jeffery Morgenthaler's method, which was good, but always seemed to have a yeasty taste to it. The standard method for making ginger syrup, simmering chunks of ginger in simple syrup and filtering the resulting mess, worked alright but seemed to lose its kick fairly quickly. I finally despaired and gave up hope for a while.
Then, as luck would have it, I stumbled upon Summit Sips. While browsing the archives, I came upon a new recipe for ginger syrup. This, folks, is the way to go. All the convenience of ginger syrup, which lets you make as little or as much ginger beer as you want, with the snappy tasty of Mr. Morgenthaler's recipe. Truly a gift from the gods, especially if one happens to have a bit of a sore throat or a stuffed up nose.
Finally, it'd be a shame to leave without a recipe using ginger syrup. While I quite enjoy it in a Bourbon Special, it plays a little more prominent role in another tiki drink:
Queen's Road Cocktail (from Beachbum Berry's "Sippin' Safari")
0.5 oz orange juice
0.5 oz honey syrup
1.5 oz gold Puerto Rican rum
0.5 tsp ginger syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients, shake with ice and strain into a chilled glass.
Without the ginger syrup, this would be a passable but unremarkable cocktail. Some decent fruit flavor, the smooth sweetness of honey and gold Puerto Rican rum, which is usually good, but doesn't particularly stand out in comparison to Jamaican or Guyanese rums. The ginger syrup adds another new dimension to the drink, giving it snap and spice.
For those who like that ginger bite a bit more, you could easily bump the ginger syrup up to 1 tsp without disturbing the balance of the drink, though you might want to use a hair less honey syrup so that it doesn't get too sweet. Overall, it's a fairly simple but definitely tasty cocktail.
Smooth Ambler: Partly Sold!
9 minutes ago