ICELY DONE TANGLED ROOTS
-Fierce, fiery ginger & zesty squeezed lemon.
Fiery ginger and crisp, zesty lemon is an age old combination as natural as breathing but I admit that it came to me kind of late. I think maybe it is a mature flavour profile, although I concede that this might no longer be the case.
My earliest memory of ginger was observing the West-Indian guys working for the laundry company my dad once operated, drink ginger beer to keep cool from huge washing machines bellowing out hot air. I always thought it was alcoholic and no one ever told me otherwise so this delicious soft drink eluded me growing up. There are few things I regret more.
In recent years I was bartending at The Hawksmoor as I did my upmost to get Icely Done off the ground. The best-selling cocktail on their menu was the delicious Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew created by Pete Jeary. This drink flies out of their bars to a community of Hawksmoor guests and fans who have done a bad job of keeping this drink under wraps. The secret is well and truly out on this great drink – and deservedly so. The Hawksmoor describe it as a turbo-shandy for discerning drinkers, somewhere between homemade ginger beer and shandy. I think that’s as accurate a description as you’re likely to hear, possibly of any drink.
With the popularity of this drink, rarely would a shift behind a Hawskmoor bar not involve peeling and juicing fresh ginger and most of this wound up as gorgeous ginger syrup.
A favourite memory of mine would be the ceremonial drinking of fresh ginger juice shots with fellow bartenders, barbacks and floor staff. The pleasure/pain of ginger ripping through your system delivering painful cold and flu prevention was always great fun and it created a brief few moments where we huddled together during busy shifts to watch each other’s faces, as fresh ginger juice burned through us. Unfortunately I still remember what many of those faces looked like, all scrunched up and I am giggling right now as those faces flash through my mind.
With this combination so ingrained, and with memories so fond, it is not surprising that this flavour profile led to the creation of our Tangled Roots blend. I had originally intended to bring Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew to the world, one bar at a time, but I think that this is probably a job for Shaky Pete himself.
The combination of ginger & lemon presents a world of possibilities and I look forward to sharing some of the ways we most enjoy this flavour profile. For now, let me finish by telling you how we go about preparing our Tangled Roots blend and let me offer one further thanks to everyone I worked with at Hawksmoor Seven Dials for giving me so many “ginger” laughs.
55% Ginger Syrup (1:1)
45% Squeezed Lemon Juice
Preparing Ginger Syrup:
Wash, peel and chop fresh, dry ginger. Juice it using a centrifugal juicer. Double the quantity of liquid by matching your ginger juice with an equal measure of water. Make a note of the final liquid quantity and dissolve an equal amount of caster sugar in to this ginger/water blend to make ginger syrup. This will keep in the fridge for 3-4 weeks which is pretty handy.
Ginger juice (ie the finished syrup minus the sugar and water) is a great ingredient and if you’re tinkering with this, make sure you try an authentic El Diablo, or Penicillin to name a couple of ginger all-stars. Be warned though – ginger juice is pretty volatile and I wouldn’t keep it much longer than 24 hours.
I’d love to hear about your favourite drinks featuring ginger and if you’ve got any suggestions/tips/recipes you’d like to share – I’d love to hear from you – Lefti.