The Tasting Panel magazine

February 2014

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102 / the tasting panel / february 2014 GADD'S SIXPACK Blenheim Ginger Ale From what claims to be the oldest continu- ous independent soda bottler in the world, in Hamer, South Carolina, this American original dates back to the 19th-century Blenheim mineral spring, the water of which was recommended for stomach ailments. Ginger was added to disguise the mineral lavors, creating a hit beverage sensation. Be warned: Old #3 Hot (Red Cap) is a ive-alarm tonsil torcher that's only for the truly daring; sibling #5 (Gold Cap) is milder, and there's also a diet version (White Cap). Bruce Cost Passion Fruit Ginger Ale Bruce Cost literally wrote the book on ginger—1984's Ginger East to West—and later opened ginger-inspired restaurants in San Francisco and Chicago, where his fresh ginger ale was in high demand. Cost now bottles his recipe. The Passion Fruit expres- sion is full of sediment—be sure to invert the bottle before open- ing—and, in the glass, looks like something your Chinese grand- mother might whip up to cure a yin-yang imbalance. Hauntingly delicious on many levels. BCGA CONCEPT CORP. Fever-Tree Ginger Ale Unlike some other ginger beverages, this clear, Chardonnay-yellow ginger ale— made from a blend of three gingers—has no sediment, making it an eligible mixer for a classy cocktail. Highly effervescent when poured, it unleashes a noisy izz of menacing bubbles, then settles down to deliver a heady ginger/cane sugar nose with a trace of minerality. Surprisingly mild on the palate, it's well-behaved and eminently clubbable. A gentleman's ginger ale. Fever-Tree Ginger Beer is a rowdier cousin. BRANDS OF BRITAIN Bundaberg Ginger Beer From Queensland, Down Under comes this cloudy classic. Fermented for up to four days, all but 0.2 percent of the alcohol is removed by a heating process. Nonetheless, it packs the punch of a boxing kangaroo, with authentic ginger lavors and a inish that goes on like the Outback. Unique graphics and packaging complete Bundaberg's one-of-a-kind vibe. Cock 'n Bull Ginger Beer This one pays tribute to the leg- endary Hollywood watering hole of the 1940s, the Cock 'n Bull, where a Hueblein exec invented the Moscow Mule—vodka, lime and ginger beer—as a marketing gimmick to help sell Smirnoff. Well, the Moscow Mule is back in vogue, and this oldtimer ("since 1946") is along for the ride. It's sugary and izzes in the mouth like soda pop; the kids will love it as is, but a shot of vodka and squeeze of lime won't hurt. C-B BEVERAGE CORP./PIPELINE BRANDS Fentimans Ginger Beer Fermented from Chinese ginger root, along with herbal doses of speedwell, juniper and yarrow. Heavily sedimented, but don't let the cloudy, almost scary, appearance put you off. The potpourri nose smells like a Victorian parlor and the assertive, medicinal lavors are a time-warp to a bygone age. A real taste of old-timey. FENTIMANS NORTH AMERICA Winter Warmers GINGER BEERS PUT SOME HEAT INTO THE COLD-WEATHER SEASON

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