Ginger Ale And Ginger Beer
Ginger beer started as a homemade alcoholic tonic to relieve an upset stomach. Although the exact date of its invention remains unknown, it has been recognised to originate from England and Ireland. Its earliest recipes are believed to first surfaced in the early 19th century.
Ginger ale then continues its story in America in mid 1860s. The story goes that James Vernor, an American pharmacist and druggist, was experimenting with the recipe of ginger ale before he got called-up for duty when the American Civil War began. When Vernor returned four years later, he opened to try the forgotten barrel of ginger syrup and was surprised to find that the taste had improved through the aging process.
“Without the Civil War, there would be no Vernors”, says the company on their website. They are known to be not just America’s oldest surviving ginger ale, but also the “original ginger soda”.
What Vernor had created is known as the “golden” version of ginger ale, which can be distinguished by its dark colour, and its strong taste of ginger. The “dry” version of the ginger ale is far less sweet and is pale in colour. John McLaughlin, a Canadian Pharmacist is known to be the father of the “dry” version of ginger ale.
McLaughlin owned a sparkling water plant in Toronto, Canada, where he created Canada Dry Pale Ginger Ale, now known as Canada Dry. During the Prohibition period (1920 – 5 December 1933) in the United States, many Americans saw the need for a mixer that was lighter and less sweet to mask the harsh taste of liquor. This is where Canada Dry was brought into play. Hailed as the “champagne of soda”, it remains a popular choice as a mixer for liquor.
Over the years, the distinction between ginger beer and ginger ale became blurred, even though ginger beer used to be a home-brewed alcoholic drink made by using yeast fermentation. Many of the commercial ginger beers that we have today contain no alcohol at all, as most of the soda companies add a stronger taste of ginger to carbonated water and called it ginger beer. Ginger ale “serves as the transitional link between the home-brewed alcoholic small beers, and small ales of old and modern-day mass-produced soft drinks,” Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F. Smith.
The difference between the modern ginger beer and ginger ale is very slight. While both are non-alcoholic carbonated drinks, the difference lies in the intensity of the ginger, with ginger beer having a stronger flavour than ginger ale.
A carbonated drink flavoured with ginger root extract. It comes in two variants: golden and dry. It can be drunk on its own or as a mixer with alcoholic drinks. It has also been used to aid stomach discomfort due to its key ingredient, ginger.
Carbonated water, sugar, and ginger root extract,