While whisky and a non-alcoholic ginger based mixer is a favourite pairing among cocktail enthusiasts, some of the more discerning patrons have their own take on choosing between ginger beer and ginger ale to make a whisky highball. While a whisky mule is made using ginger beer, two shots of whisky infused with sweet and spicy ginger ale is also a blend enjoyed for its slightly sweeter flavour profile. Make no mistake, infusing a Johnnie Walker Red Label with ginger beer and with ginger ale are two different mixology recipes and require a trained palate to observe the ways in which whisky responds to the mixers.
Ginger beer and ale are both ginger-flavoured drinks yet, there are differences in their production process and ingredients. Ginger beer is a fermented drink made using water, sugar and ginger along with the occasional spices giving it a more robust flavour profile. The beer is carbonated following the fermentation process and has a stronger smell compared to ginger ale.
A carbonated non-alcoholic drink, ginger ale is made by bringing together ginger flavours often extracted from syrup or a ginger extract and sweeteners like cane sugar and aerated with soda water or club soda. The addition of sweeteners into the ale tames down the sharp gingery notes making the drink a milder and syrupy version of a non-alcoholic ginger mixer. The drink is lighter and fizzier compared to ginger beer and often introduces a slight sweetness when it is mixed with a spirit.
So, when you bring together ginger ale and Red Label for a cocktail blend in a highball glass, it makes for a distinct cocktail whose flavour is enhanced by a bit of freshly squeezed lime juice complementing the gingery notes of the blend. A garnish made from a ginger slice inserted in the tall glass adds a sharp kick to the drink. Topped with ice, this is a refreshing cooler for casual get-togethers with family or intimate gatherings at home.
Notes of gingery sweetness coupled with a syrupy texture and freshly squeezed lime juice give the drink a freshness that would bring you out of a stupor. Smoky whisky blends perfectly with this mix because of its versatility so the soda can dilute the liquor just enough for it to be sipped on for a long time through the course of the evening without getting too buzzed, too quick. The ginger in the mixer and the soft hints of liquor also introduce a rather rejuvenating quality into this highball cocktail.
Find out below a quick recipe to make Red and Ginger at your home bar for the next gathering you host:
Fill a tall glass with ice cubes.
Add 25 ml Johnnie Walker Red Label.
Add 15ml of squeezed lime.
Add 75ml ginger ale or fill to the top.
Garnish with a slice of ginger.