If you want a bit of kick in your cocktail, then there’s a fair chance that you’ll be reaching for a bottle of Ginger Liqueur. Known for its spicy flavour, Ginger Liqueur is happy to play with any and all of the spirits from brandy and Whiskey to Gin and Tequila.
A welcome addition to drinks, both classic and modern, Ginger Liqueur is a truly versatile liqueur. In winter, it adds that comforting element of warmth, while in Summer its flavour adds a refreshing element to any drink.
But unlike its more famous Liqueuer cousins, Ginger Liqueur has never quite caught the imagination of the cocktail world. Sure, everyone has a bottle and everyone has used it, but the brands that play in this space, certainly do not have the brand recognition of say a Jägermeister or a St Germain.
It’s not that Ginger Liqueur has been overlooked as such, it’s more that it’s an ingredient that just hasn’t had its moment yet. When will it? Well, in the fickle world of alcohol trends that’s really anybody’s guess.
Probably the most popular of the brands is Domaine de Canton with it’s distinct faceted, bamboo-style bottle and its balanced flavour. Crafted from an infusion of Cognac, the brand has wooed the craft cocktail world with statements that point out that it is a Liqueur where French elegance and Asian mysticism merge.
A super-premium ginger liqueur, the brand further highlights it Indochine Française roots by explaining that it is made with hand-cut young Vietnamese ginger macerated with herbs and spices and honey.
But for the best story, you would probably have to go to Berry Brothers for their The Kings Ginger Liqueur. This liqueur is said to have been formulated at the request of the royal doctor, to spark new life into the King during the morning rides in his new horseless carriage.
How to make Ginger liqueur
Now while it’s quite easy to go out and buy a bottle of Ginger Liqueur with either Domaine de Canton or The King Ginger Liqueur, it’s equally easy (and perhaps a little bit more fun) to mix up a batch at home.
- 750 ml. unaged brandy
- 6 oz. fresh ginger, divided
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 Tbsp. loose-leaf chamomile tea
- 1 whole vanilla pod
- 1 orange
Peel and finely dice 4 oz. of fresh ginger. Combine the peeled, chopped ginger and brandy in a 1-litre glass jar. Cover, shake and store in a cool, dark place for 1 week, shaking daily.
After 1 week, peel and finely dice the remaining ginger. In a small saucepan, combine this ginger with water, honey and chamomile tea. Bring just to a simmer, stir until the honey dissolves, remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
With a vegetable peeler, remove the outer peel (or zest) of the orange, taking care to avoid the white pith. Use a paring knife to split the vanilla pod lengthwise. Add the orange peel and vanilla pod to the ginger-brandy mixture.
Without straining, pour the ginger-chamomile honey syrup into the ginger-brandy mixture. Cover, shake and store in a cool, dark place for 1 week, shaking every few days.
Fine-strain the liquid through multiple layers of cheesecloth (or use a nut-milk bag or coffee filter) while funnelling into a clean glass bottle. Cap (or cork) and store at room temperature for up to 6 months.
TIP: For the best results, use an unaged grape brandy like a Blanche Armagnac or a higher-proof quality grape spirit, or in a pinch, use a high-proof quality vodka.