Gingery Sips

Three new ginger ales by former Bay Area chef, Bruce Cost.

Long-time Bay Area foodies probably remember the addicting fresh ginger ale served at the now-shuttered restaurants, Monsoon in San Francisco, Ginger Island in Berkeley and Ginger Club in Palo Alto.

Now, Bruce Cost, the chef and proprietor of those restaurants, has finally bottled that fizzy goodness. His “Fresh Ginger, Ginger Ale by Bruce Cost” says it all. The soda is made with cane sugar and fresh, whole ginger. In fact, you can see bits of actual ginger root floating in the soda, which is left unfiltered.

Cost, who went on to start the Big Bowl and Wow Bao restaurants in Chicago, brews and bottles the ginger ale in Brooklyn.

The ginger ale comes in three varieties: “Original,” “Pomegranate with Hibiscus,” and “Jasmine Green Tea.” A 12-ounce bottle has 160 calories.

The "Original'' with lovely bits of ginger floating in it.

The “Origiinal” has nice heat with balanced sweetness. There’s a real purity of ginger flavor here. The “Pomegrantate with Hibiscus” has the most subtle ginger flavor of the three varieties. It’s a beautiful ruby color, too. My favorite was the “Jasmine Green Tea,” which is infused with whole leaf green jasmine tea from Taiwan. The warm spiciness of the ginger is a wonderful match for the floral, slightly tannic notes. It’s a memorable sip, indeed.

It’s now being served at restaurants such as the Slanted Door in San Francisco, and is available for about $2 per 12-ounce bottle at select Bay Area Whole Foods, Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco, Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco, and the Pasta Shop in Oakland and Berkeley, where I bought a bottle of each to try recently.

Another refreshing ginger beverage is Fentiman’s Ginger Beer. Made with ginger root extract, it has a more medicinal taste than the Bruce Cost beverage, as well as a faint citrus note.

Established in 1905, Fentiman’s Botanically Brewed Beverages were originally delivered in stone jars in the United Kingdom. Now, of course, they come in glass bottles. But they’re still made in the same manner by brewing and fermenting herbs and milled roots over a seven-day stretch.ย  They all contain less than 0.5 percent alcohol, too, so they’re appropriate for palates of any age.

Fentiman's Ginger Beer.

Fentiman’s products are sold at Bay Area Andronico’s, Lunardi’s, and Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco. A 9.3-ounce bottle is about $3.

For a potent kick of ginger, look no further than Elixir G. This concentrated, non-alcoholic ginger extract is designed to be a mixer for cocktails or seltzer or soda water.

Elixir G is a concentrated ginger mixer.

Made with ginger, cane sugar and lemon juice, it definitely packs a punch. What’s nice is that you can control how strong tasting you want your beverage to be, just by adjusting the quantity of the Elixir G used. There’s a lot of ginger flavor here, and quite a bit of lemon, too. In fact, if the lemon were taken down just a notch, this would be near perfect to me.

A 12.7-ounce bottle is $9.99 at BevMo.

Elixir G is a concentrated ginger mixer.

And mixed with fizzy water.

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  • I recently made homemade ginger ale which was seriously incredible. Love ginger ale and these products look fantastic!

  • I love Wow Bao, but had no idea he was also a soda genius. I’ve really been wanting to make my own since seeing a new soda carbonator at Williams Sonoma that can finally handle more than plain liquid. (I wanted to get one awhile ago but was told the partiular model was not suited to carbonating fruit juice. Yum!

  • Wow, those ginger ales sound so good! I wonder if the ginger extract would be good for making cookies.

  • Okay, confession time: I only know Canada Dry. I’m sorry, and I’m ashamed. And I’ll shape up, I promise, especially after reading this … those all sound fantastic!

  • woah! this is something interesting and refreshing indeed! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I love ginger; the ginger ales sound wonderful. The Pomegrantate with Hibiscus would be pretty for Valentine’s Day! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • They look so refreshing! A good ginger beer is so refreshingly good and I really like the different flavour combos too! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Awhile back, Carolyn, you blogged about Fever-Tree Ginger Beer and first time tasting it, I loved the product bemoaning only its petite 6.8 bottles. Any possibility your tastebud memory recalls enough to evaluate how Fever-Tree’s GQ (ginger quotient) stacks up vs these just reviewed products?

  • Wotten1: I’d have to buy another bottle of Fever-Tree to be sure. But going on memory, I remember it being very fizzy, probably more so than the Bruce Cost and Fentiman’s. The Fever Tree has a very pure ginger flavor, kind of like the Original Bruce Cost one. But I think the Bruce Cost one might be just a tiny bit sweeter. And again, the Fentiman’s has a more medicinal taste, with botanicals added to the brew mixture.

  • These all look wonderful! Ginger Ale is one of my favorite things to drink.

  • I wish I could drink fizzy drinks, because I particularly like the sound of the Pomegrantate with Hibiscus variety, but alas, for some reason fizz hurts my mouth. Lol!

  • Oh, all of these artisan ginger ales are making my mouth water!

  • I love potent ginger ale, I have to find that Elixir G in the meantime look in my Whole Foods for the Jasmine version, looks really interesting.

  • Thanks for the heads up on Bruce Cost! That’s a sure bet next time I’m at Out the Door. I love ginger — am so glad that it’s being embraced beyond the postpartum ginger chicken arena ;).

  • I love ginger in drinks! Thanks for sharing.

  • The fact that you even uttered the words “Slanted Door” makes me incredibly hungry right about now. These ginger drinks sound great!

  • Wow, love the packaging on the gingle ale and I’ve now got a huge craving for it. The closest I can get in Pittsburgh is a caribbean style ginger brew that is not carbonated. Is there anywhere online to buy Bruce’s ginger ale?

  • If you love ginger soda you have to try SIPP Ginger Blossom – it’s organic and sweetened with agave nectar! I love it! It’s being sold at Tori Spelling’s new store – InvenTORI and I also think you can get it online.

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