I remember growing up in the 1970s the big glass bottles of Brookdale soda that were delivered to my Aunt’s in Bloomfield. Flavors you normally don’t see like grape, black cherry, even orange. Today its Coke or Sprite, hard to find 7-Up and the last time I had Fanta orange soda was in Brazil. I am sure its around I am not looking. I don’t drink a lot of soda but one thing that I recently realized was Ginger Ale was actually made from real Ginger (or it should be). I remember whenever I had a stomach ache my aunt would tell me to drink flat ginger ale. I don’t know how it was made then, but I am almost certain that the ginger ale that comes out the tap in bars, restaurants and even catering halls contain little or no ginger, its probably just sugar, water and flavorings.
So, I decided that if I am going to have a cocktail, I want it to be with a quality soda, so I tried several different ginger ales, I won’t mention the top selling brands, but rather the lesser knowns like Gus, Izze and Bruce Cost. Gus’s “Grown Up” soda does not have a lot of sugar, which I like, its all natural, but all of these sodas are not cheap. $6 will get you a 4 pack, not a 6-pack. The most unique is Bruce Cost’s ginger ale shown below. The ginger separates from the soda and you can see chunks of the ginger in it… you have to gently shake it before you serve it. Bruce Cost actually wrote the book Ginger East to West and is a very well known food personality. That being said, there was too much ginger in there for comfort. It tasted like the orangish stuff you get to cleanse your palate at sushi places. For me, Izze was the clear winner. It has ginger extract and/or oil, which is fine by me. Its then best tasting, and if I could I would drop the sugar a tiny bit, but it was the most refreshing, especially in a cocktail. The cocktail below is actually fresh squeezed lime, gin and a few ounces of ginger ale. A good drink.
Izze Soda www.izze.com
Bruce Cost www.freshgingerale.com