I really like ginger. Like, a lot. I’ve added it to pretty much every meal I’ve cooked this week. Which you’d think would make me an afficionado of ginger beers – not without some exceptions. Today I’ll primarily discuss the alcoholic varieties, with a few exceptions.
I can handle the occasional Crabbie’s, but I usually tap out after half a glass – I just can’t handle the high sugar content. This is my usual complaint with ginger beers – either they are too sweet or the ginger flavour isn’t “kick-in-the-face” sharp enough. The contrast to this is Fallentimber’s Ginger Mead – it’s refreshing and surprisingly dry, considering the prominent honey flavor, though it is without the other spices that we associate with a “ginger beer”. Learn more about Fallentimber’s meads here.
My current favorite though, is Old Tom. No, not your crazy neighbor that wears ten different hats at the same time. Nor the cat that wanders your neighborhood yowling for lady-cat affection. Originally labelled as Ginger Tom, Old Tom is a traditional ale mixed with a ginger beer – the best of both worlds. This way you get the flavors of a lemony, herbal ginger beer cut with a crisp traditional ale.
The Phillips brewing company also makes a legitimate beer with (that bears little to no resemblence to the aforementioned varieties). This one is a legitimate beer brewed with ginger. Much like the thinly sliced pink pickled ginger, this stuff is great with sushi. Not a fan of that pink stuff? This might not be the beer for you.
Are mixed drinks more your style? Traditionally served in a copper mug, a Moscow Mule is made with ginger beer, lime, and vodka. Headframe Spirits out of Butte serves up their own version, the Montucky Mule, with their signature Neversweat Bourbon and Cock and Bull Ginger Beer. Not in the area? Fentiman’s Ginger Beer makes an excellent mix for any of the above spirits.
Korean cuisine is rife with ginger and strong, spicy flavors. This recipe literally translates to “mixed rice and vegetables” – creative, I know. But incredibly tasty. Keep in mind this is a non-Korean girl’s boozy attempt at Korean food, and it should not be considered authentic in any way. FYI, Gochujang is a spicy fermented bean paste that is pretty indespensible in this recipe. It’s pretty easy to find at any Asian Grocery store if you know what the container looks like – they’ll probably have this kind there (see image left). If not, good luck reading Korean!
Bi Bim Bap with Ginger Beer Sauce
- 1/2 cup ginger beer
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 lb steak, thinly sliced
Sesame Steamed Bok Choy
- Bok Choy
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp mirin
- Matchstick carrots
- Pickled radish
- 4 serving portions of steamed rice
- 4 eggs
Ginger Beer-bim-bap sauce
- 3 Tbsp gochujang
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1/4 cup ginger beer
- 1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
- 1 tsp vinegar – I used apple vinegar
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- Combine the first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add steak; toss to coat. Cover and chill for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.
- Combine sesame oil, soy sauce and mirin in a wok and heat over medium. Add bok choy and stir gently. Add 2 tbsp water (or ginger beer, if you have a bit extra). Cover and steam until dark green.
- Meanwhile, heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add one-quarter of beef and cook, turning once, until cooked through and lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat in 3 batches with remaining oil and beef.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together ingredients for sauce.
- Divide rice among bowls. Assemble steamed bok choy and beef overtop of rice, along with additional vegetables.
- Right before serving, fry one egg (over-easy) for each portion. Top each bowl with a fried egg and serve with bi bim bap sauce.