Walk Ginger-ly, this is precious stuff!

Ginger’s history dates back over 3,000 years; when it was called srngaveram in Sanskrit, for “horn root” because of its appearance. Ginger is an amazing thing; used the world over in endless ways. The current name – Ginger, comes from the Middle English word gingivere.

 Although popular in the Far East, Mid East, and the Caribbean, Ginger is very popular in Western culture as well. It was, in fact, a popular spice in ancient Rome, but after the fall of the Roman Empire, it in effect, disappeared from Europe. It took good old Marco Polo and his trek to the Far East to bring it back into popularity in Europe, but as with many other exotic spices, it was pricey.

Whereas many cultures use Ginger as an essential ingredient in meals, in the West, it still tends to be more commonly used in powdered form as a flavoring for cookies, cakes, gingerbread, and fresh in Ginger wines, ales, and beers. Of course, with modern culinary life, you can and will encounter Ginger everywhere you look, from sushi bars, to Chinese and Thai restaurants.

Ginger Root is actually a Rhizome; a plant stem that runs horizontally under the ground which itself has roots, and sends up plant shoots. It is traditionally harvested when the stalk withers. It is then scalded, or washed and scraped to prevent sprouting. Young ginger rhizomes are juicy, and milder to the taste, whereas mature ones are very fibrous, and dry. The ginger juice from these is very pungent and will make an impact however it is used.

Ginger has many medicinal qualities which have been studied the world over, and of course, many a folk remedy relies on Ginger. It is used to treat nausea, motion sickness, fatigue, headaches, stomach aches, and as a cold remedy. Ironically, if too much ginger is consumed, (more than 2 grams per kilogram of body mass), an overdose could result, but that would be darned near impossible to do that!

Ginger Beer has been around since its creation in England in the 1700’s. The basic recipe for brewed Ginger Beer is basically ginger, sugar, water, lemon juice and a fungal bacteria known as a ginger beer plant. Each recipe has its own additions. Although there are far more non alcoholic varieties on the market, there are also alcoholic versions. Both can be used to create various alcoholic drinks, but somehow, using a bottle of alcoholic ginger beer and then adding Vodka or Rum seems a bit like overdoing it! Better to just stick with some ice and a squeeze of lime…

By far, the most popular mixed drinks made with Ginger Beer are Dark “N” Stormys, (Goslings Black Seal Rum, Ginger Beer, a lime slice, and ice), and Moscow Mules. There are few more refreshing drinks for the warmer months than a tangy, refreshing Moscow Mule! The best Ginger Beer we have found for making Moscow Mules, (and Dark “N” Stormys, for that matter), is Cock and Bull. It’s a pungent, slightly cloudy, ginger Beer which holds up beautifully to the other ingredients; and it has the recipe right on the bottle! 1 jigger, (1 ½ oz.) Vodka, juice of ½ lime, ice cubes, ice cold Ginger Beer. Drop in ½ squeezed lime, stir gently. The drink is traditionally served in a copper Moscow Mule cup, which lends even more appeal to this tasty libation.

We are featuring Cock and Bull Ginger Beer on sale for the rest of the year for $4.99 a 4 pack, and Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer in 16.9 oz. bottles for $2.99 through June.

Enjoy!

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