Friday, March 25, 2011

Quick and Dirty (But Tasty!) Ginger Syrup

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 lime juice
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.


  1. The standard way lasts longer if you invert the sugar (break down sucrose into fructose and glucose). I have never gone through the effort (a little acid and a bunch of heat will invert the sugar syrup).

    The easiest way I've found is to grate ginger root over a coffee mug filled with sugar. Muddle the grated ginger into the sugar. Add an equal part of water as to the sugar. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir (repeat once or twice). Let sit for 15 minutes or so (I've skipped this step), and strain. Easily scalable and perfect for on the fly drinks. Well, the easiest is to by Gingerpeople Ginger Syrup, Trader Tiki's, or other, but...

  2. Great topic. Thanks for the links. I've always just bought ginger beer too. I'm REALLY excited to give this a try. I bet it will be great.

  3. @frederic

    I should have included it in the original post, but there are chemical reactions that occur when you heat ginger that renders it less pungent, which is probably part of why the traditional ginger syrup method tends to have less zip. Your system sounds like it'd work well, especially since you're probably going to use it all at once.

    House Spirits actually uses straight ginger puree for their Moscow Mules, which taste fantastic. However, when I looked up the commercial product, it was going to be prohibitively expensive.