Ginger ale

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Ginger ale
A glass of golden ginger ale
A glass of Reed's Premium Ginger Ale
Type Soft drink
Country of origin United States, Canada
Introduced 1851
Alcohol by volume none
Color Golden
Flavour Ginger
Variants Golden ginger ale and dry ginger ale

Ginger ale is a carbonated soft drink flavored with ginger in one of two ways. The golden style is closer to the ginger beer original, and is credited to the American doctor Thomas Cantrell. The dry style (also called the pale style) is a paler drink with a much milder ginger-flavor to it, and was created by Canadian John McLaughlin.

History[edit]

Dr. Thomas Cantrell, an American apothecary and surgeon, claimed to have invented ginger ale and marketed it with beverage manufacturer Grattan and Company. Grattan embossed the slogan "The Original Makers of Ginger Ale" on its bottles.[1] This was the Golden ginger ale, dark colored, generally sweet to taste, with a strong ginger spice flavor. It is the older style and there is little or no difference between this and non-alcoholic versions of ginger beer. Golden ginger ale is mainly consumed as a carbonated drink and not as a mixer like dry ginger ale is often used.

Raspberry Ginger Ale

Dry ginger ale is recognized as a Canadian creation by John McLaughlin, a chemist and pharmacist.[2] Having established a soda water bottling plant in 1890, McLaughlin began developing flavour extracts to add to the water in 1904. That year, he introduced "Pale Dry Ginger Ale," the bubbly libation that would be patented in 1907 as "Canada Dry Ginger Ale." An instant success, Canada Dry products were accepted by appointment to the Royal Household of the Governor General of Canada. The dry-style also became popular in the United States during the Prohibition era, when it was used as a mixer for alcoholic beverages. Dry ginger ale quickly surpassed golden ginger ale in popularity. Today, golden ginger ale is an uncommon, more regional drink exemplified by Vernors. By contrast, dry ginger ale is produced on a vast scale internationally.

Dry ginger ale, as a mixer for alcoholic beverages, is a staple on supermarket shelves, in bars, and on airlines. Ginger ale is less commonly sold through vending machines or soda fountains alongside other carbonated soft drinks, but is still popular in some countries such as Canada.

Ingredients[edit]

A picture of a can of Sussex Golden Ginger Ale

Ginger ale commonly contains carbonated water, sugar/HFCS and artificial ginger-flavor. Ginger content is often listed on labels in a general "natural aroma" or "Natural flavoring" statement, to preserve secrecy of the complex proprietary mix of spices, fruits and other flavors used. Lemon, lime and cane sugar are the most common of ingredients. Pineapple and honey are also occasional ingredients.[3] Ginger ale can also contain yeast, when carbonated with natural fermentation.

Most commercial ginger ales made in the United States are made with high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener.

Use[edit]

Ginger ale, as with other ginger products, is often used as a home remedy to alleviate indigestion or motion sickness, or to relieve and to soothe coughs and sore throats. Studies on its effectiveness as an anti-emetic have produced mixed results, with most finding that ginger extract will relieve symptoms of nausea. Because most brand-name ginger ales contain ginger flavoring rather than actual ginger extract,[citation needed] most experts[who?] believe ginger ale's popularity as a home remedy is the result of placebo rather than ginger. It also contains high levels of sugar, which can cause an osmotic shift, that can affect the bowels more than the desired effect of the ginger.[citation needed]

It is popular in mixed drinks, especially in non-alcoholic ones, and punch, and it is sometimes used as a non-alcoholic substitute for champagne, since the beverages resemble each other in appearance. Ginger ale can be mixed with most hard liquors, beers and wines in many mixed drinks, and is said to mix well with everything. In Jamaica, a common way to consume ginger ale is mixed with Red Stripe beer; this is called a Shandy Gaff[4] or a Rocky Susan.[citation needed]

Variations[edit]

Dry ginger ale is also sold with a mint flavouring added. Some mint ginger ale brands have an artificial green color added, while others are clear. Recently, Canada Dry has introduced a line of ginger ale mixed with green tea. In selected Japanese vending machines, Canada Dry also offers hot ginger ale which is simply the heated version of the original but still retains carbonation. [5]

Some manufacturers have produced fruit-flavoured ginger ales, including raspberry, cranberry and grape versions.

Manufacturers[edit]

Vernors, Blenheim, A-Treat, Bull's Head, Chelmsford, Buffalo Rock, Sussex and Red Rock are brands of golden ginger ale. Canada Dry, Schweppes, and Seagram's are major brands of dry ginger ale.

Bottled ginger ale

North America[edit]

Brands available in North America include Canada Dry, Bull's Head, Canfield's, Bruce Cost Fresh Ginger Ginger Ale, Hansen Natural, Vernors, Seagram's, Seaman's (acquired by PepsiCo and now discontinued), Schweppes, Sussex, Buffalo Rock, Boylan Bottling Company, Polar Beverages, Ale-8-One, Blenheim, Foxon Park, Sprecher, Vally, Market Basket/Chelmsford, Red Rock, Reed's Ginger Brew, Thomas Kemper, Blaze (produced by Pipeline Brands), Chek (River of Dreams), Shasta, Northern Neck, and Sussex Golden Ginger Ale.

Vernors is a flavored golden ginger ale aged for three years in oak barrels before bottling. It was the first U.S. soft drink, originating in 1866, although it was modeled on imported Irish ginger beers. In Detroit, Michigan, a drink made with vanilla ice cream and Vernors ginger ale is called a Boston cooler. The name is not taken from Boston, Massachusetts, where this combination is unknown, but from an establishment on Boston Boulevard in Detroit, where it is said to have been invented.[citation needed]

Blenheim is a golden ginger ale made in South Carolina; unlike most other brands, it is available in several degrees of spiciness: Old #3 Hot, #5 Not as Hot, and #9 Diet.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]