Bid winter farewell with a little spice.
Drama queen that Winter is, there’s always one last sting in the tail. If you’re anything like The Mix, that’s the one that gets you. You leave the house looking dapper one morning, only to be caught out by a surprise blizzard. You curse your decision to wear your (extremely porous) Converse sneakers, which are now buried in snow, without socks. You wonder where on earth the bus could be. Your phone told you it would be there in three minutes—18 minutes ago.
As you trudge home, nose runny, socks squelchy, head pounding, you think back to your childhood. Memories of your mother brewing up a mystical concoction that never failed to restore your spirits. A bit of lemon, a lot of honey, and perhaps most importantly, some ginger.
Currently enjoying superfood status for its immune-bosting, anti-inflammatory powers, ginger has long been revered for its ability to induce warm and fuzzies even on the most rotten of days. It’s only natural, then, to take a look at some, um, “grown-up” ways to increase your intake.
Most people know of the Moscow Mule—a drink with surprisingly capitalist origins that may or may not have started the Vodka Craze—but we’ll save that story for another day. Another classic, the Dark ’n’ Stormy, pops up all over the city on winter nights.
Both drinks are riffs on the same theme. Take a squeeze of citrus, a shot of liquor, and a solid pour of ginger beer, stir in some ice, and marvel at your creation. They’re incredibly easy to make, but rely on you using ginger beer and never ginger ale. In general, ginger beer has a stronger, not-so-sweet flavour, and a bit less fizz.
Ginger beer is also surprisingly easy to make. It basically involves boiling up some ginger syrup and letting it ferment for a few days. If that sounds like too much work, you can boil up the concentrated syrup then mix it with sparkling water or club soda (though you’ll be missing out on the joys of fermentation). You can buy syrup in specialty shops like BYOB Cocktail Emporium. It’s even popping up at grocery stores. Look out for brands like Les Charlatans and 3/4oz.
There is such an abundance of phenomenal ginger cocktails in the city, so it’s hard to pick just three. Think of this as a cross-section, with one spicy, one citrusy, and one “healthy” option.
Dark n’ Bitter Storm
Hopgood’s Foodliner (325 Roncesvalles Avenue) have split the atom with their take on a dark and stormy. Keeping the Gosling Rum and squeeze of lime from the original recipe, ginger beer is replaced by a ginger shrub and Propeller IPA. The result is spicy, intense, and at the same time soothing, with a sweet, malty finish. Enjoy a couple with the various maritime delights on offer.
As far as ginger-driven drinks go, this is on the more refreshing side. Hanmoto (2 Lakeview Avenue) start with a base of vodka, infused in-house with Kaffir Lime Leaf. Add to that Domaine de Canton (what is this?), ginger beer and a squeeze of lime, and you’ve got one smooth potion. Amidst the citrusy breeze, you will feel a mild kick. Perfect with their ridiculously good Dyno Wings.
Sick Beets Yo
An audaciously named drink that lives up to the hype. This could honestly pass as freshly pressed juice. Delicious, nutritious, and infinitely guzzlable, The Federal (1438 Dundas Street West) have produced a perfect brunch cocktail. It feels good for your body, beets, apple and ginger completely distracting you from the bourbon you’re practically inhaling.