Tuesday, July 17, 2007

That Which Wets My Whistle...Is Dry

What began as a childhood love affair with canned non alcoholic ginger beer no doubt begat (or is it begot?) my present day love affair with my summer drink of choice, Canada Dry ginger ale.

But what is this ginger beer of which I speak? Well, it's a type of carbonated beverage, flavored primarily with ginger, lemon and sugar. It originated in England in the mid 1700s, and it reached its peak of popularity in the early 1900s.

I know I was first attracted to it because it was the only carbonated drink in my small Midwest hometown that came in a can (otherwise it was nuthin' but bottles back then). And I grew to dig that gingery goodness.

Ginger beer is similar to ginger ale except that it has a significantly stronger ginger taste. Other distinctions, are the cloudy appearance (which is traditional), a predominately citrus sour taste base, and the spicy bite.

But I soon wanted not all gingery, not all of the time...which led to the lighter tasting but equally refreshing dry ginger ale. Schweppes, Vernors, Seagram's and Canada Dry are the major brands, but for me, it has to be Canada Dry.

Created in 1904 by Canadian pharmacist John J. McLaughlin after he opened a carbonated water plant in Toronto, McLaughlin used as his base recipe a Belfast-style ginger ale. But following a champagne-tasting trip to France he became convinced that a lightly coloured and clear dry ginger ale would be his ticket to riches.

And the Champagne of Ginger Ales was born.

Mmmm...sparkling tasty goodness.

So after all the serious posts and discussion of the past several days, what's everyone's summer drink of choice? What's your 'go to' beverage when all hot and bothered, or just plain hot?

What wets your whistle?


Good Dog said...

Idris Ginger Beer for me - but the Idris Fiery Ginger Beer.

In the shops we've got Coca Cola with orange. What???

That has to be the work of Satan.

Anonymous said...

Coffee, Beer, Gatorade, with a lemon wedge on the rim.

Grubber said...

If you ever get the chance, try some Bundaberg Ginger Beer, comes from the same makers of Bundaberg Rum. Can't go wrong, but would be hard to find in your neck of the woods I imagine :)

Dante Kleinberg said...

Mostly water. Dull, I know. But I'm usually trying to save calories or save money, otherwise I'd drink more Coke and root beer. Sprecher's Root Beer is my favorite but it's not easy to find (it's made with real Wisconsin honey!)

jimhenshaw said...

Hey Prairie Boy,

Let me share my grandfather's astonishing recipe for a superb refresher on a hot Saskatchewan day....

1/2 gal Vodka
1 pint Ever Clear
1/2 gal Ginger Beer
1/2 gal Lemon Lime and Bitters Mix
1/2 gal Lemonade
Juice of 2 Lemons
Juice of 2 Limes

Adjust volume according to the number of thirsty cowboys and amount of trail dust. But I believe the above numbers fit your personal consumption levels.

Kelly J. Compeau said...

When I'm parched, I always head straight for the iced tea -- and not that canned or powdered crap, either. I brew my own, three times a week. It's called Tootie Fruit-Tea.


Bring 2 bags (or a tea ball full) of your favourite tea to boil in a microwave safe container, on high in the nuker (approx. 5 minutes)

Let sit on counter to brew/cool for a half-hour, then remove tea bags/ball and pour into a large pitcher.

Add 1 cup of your favourite juice blend (i.e. cran-raspberry, wildberry, apple-pomegranite), and a dash of concentrated lemon juice for that extra kick.

At this point, you can add sugar and more water if you find it too strong or tart. I generally add a cup of sugar and another litre of water, filling the pitcher right to the spout.



Kelly J. Compeau said...

For safety's sake I should probably mention that you should drop the METAL tea ball in the container AFTER you've brought the water to a boil and removed it from the microwave. Not before. Otherwise you're going to see one hell of a lightning storm in your kitchen!

Tim Thurmeier said...

This is going to sound nuts, but I'm addicted to London Fog. It's piping hot, but oh so good. I can't help it, even when it's 34+, I still buy one. Then again, I'll eat Dairy Queen when it's minus 50 out. Odd.


Diane Kristine said...

Slurpees! I grew up in Edmonton and in the middle of winter I'd be buying my slurpee. Ironically, the 7-11s in Mexico City didn't sell them and I really missed them in the hot days of summer. But my go-to drink there was the street vendor version, raspados, my favourite made with real lime juice. Now I really miss those.

I'm just never satisfied.

SeeDoubleYou said...

diane, I hear you. I'm from Winnipeg - the Slurpee capital of the world! We even love them in January while we're shoveling out our cars.

My biggest disappointment since coming to Toronto (besides the smog) is the shortage of 7-11s here.

Juniper said...

A nice iced coffee.... super dark and strong coffee, topped with cream, then add the ice cubes.



ps... miss those Canada Dry's

morjana said...

Iced water, followed by pink lemonade. Hard to find pink lemonade these days that doesn't use grape juice concentrate (I'm allergic to grapes), but Tropicana still makes it using real lemon juice. Snapple used to make a terrific pink lemonade, but they too are using grape juice concentrate now. ARGH!