Often people get hooked into buying the most popular brand because they got lured by a great advertising campaign, or a catchy jingle, or because their favourite movie star endorses it. And once hooked, it is hard to switch allegiances; better the devil you know than the one you don’t. We become owned by a name brand, we reach over a label we don’t recognize for old faithful. Take carbonated drinks as an example. Multi-million dollar campaigns in the seventies and eighties pitted Coke against Pepsi in “blind” taste tests, the theory being that if people judged a product without bias they would purchase the one that tasted better. Getting people branded is a lot easier than getting them to change their minds. Ginger ale has a slightly similar legacy, with most folks in Canada vying for Canada Dry or Schweppes when it comes to choosing the mix for their Rye and Ginger. Too bad, because there is a relatively new ginger ale from Brooklyn on the market that puts the big names to shame. Bruce Cost Ginger Ale is made with 100% fresh ginger; no extracts or simulated flavours, no high fructose corn syrup, just carbonated water, cane sugar, fresh ginger and citric acid. Because it is unfiltered, you can actually see the billowy ginger particulate settled in the bottle before you pour it, and when drinking it, it feels more like a beer than a kid’s soda pop. There is even a little vitamin C, vitamin A, iron and calcium in the pop. Amazing what you get when you use real food. Bruce Cost is passionate about ginger! A highly successful restaurateur and author of several books and cookbooks about Asian Cuisine, Cost authored Ginger East To West thirty years ago, a work that celebrates and chronicles ginger; how it is celebrated as an almost essential flavor and ingredient in cuisines throughout the world. Five years after writing his book, Cost was selling his own version of Ginger Ale at his restaurant in San Francisco, and by 1995 he was selling it in his two Chicago restaurants as well as nine other establishments. Since 2010, Cost, now with two business partners, bottles his addictive elixir out of Brooklyn and his repertoire has expanded to include other delicious and esoteric flavours married with the original ginger: passion fruit, pomegranate with hibiscus, jasmine tea, and monk fruit.
If you are making a Rye and Ginger with your favourite Canadian Rye, or a Horse’s Neck with a top notch small-batch Bourbon, why would you top up the glass with a soda pop that is unremarkable, or a pop elicits no feeling whatsoever? Here’s a recipe courtesy of Bruce Cost for a Dark and Stormy, a cocktail usually associated with Ginger Beer, not Ginger Ale. Daily Saving Time is this weekend, a sign that spring cannot be too far away. Why not mix up one of these to celebrate? Lighter and brighter than the traditional D&S, this delicious cocktail should take the chill out of any Dark and Stormy nights between now and then. Cheers!
Bruce Cost’s Dark and Stormy
-Fill an eight ounce glass with ice -Add one ounce good light rum -Add five ounces Bruce Cost Ginger Ale -Float one ounce good dark rum on top -Garnish with lime wedge