Ginger Ale's Historic Roots - and Five Cocktails Fans Can't Miss

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March 13th is National Ginger Ale Day! In honor of this special occasion, we've explored the origin story of ginger and ginger ale throughout world history - and their journey to the local form we all adore today.

Ginger is known for its flavorful taste and pungent aroma. Its underground stem (or “rhizome”) has many uses including medicine, food, flavoring and spice in a number of delicious recipes. Historians believe that ginger is native to southeastern Asia. The generic name for ginger is Zingiber. This word is derived most recently from the Greek word zingiberis, which itself stems from the Sanskrit name singabera for the spice.

Ginger has been used in India and China since ancient times. By the first century C.E., traders had transported ginger into the Mediterranean region. It became well-known in England by the eleventh century. The Spaniards brought ginger to Mexico and the West Indies, and by 1547 it was exported to Spain from Santiago.

Ginger’s leafy stems grow up to three feet high. The plant contains roughly two percent essential oil – with the primary component zingiberine. Ginger’s oil is distilled from rhizomes and used in a variety of perfumes and foods.

From Ginger to Ale

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Ginger ale was originally made from fermentation, though modern varieties are typically made with the use of carbon dioxide gas. To craft the highest quality of ginger ale flavor that we know and love today, manufacturers use a wide range of materials. Ingredients of modern ginger ale blends include spices, fruit juices, citruses, peppery materials and foam-producing substances.

Two types of ginger ale dominate the modern market – pale, dry ginger ales and golden ginger ales. Pale varieties tend to be lighter, less sweet, and higher in acidity and carbonation than alternatives. Golden varieties are generally more pungent, sweeter, and darker.

In 1922, the term “ginger ale” moved beyond colloquial use to a term officially recognized by the Joint Committee of Definitions and Standards. This committee runs under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They officially defined ginger ale as a carbonated beverage which is prepared from sugar syrup, potable water, harmless organic acid, caramel coloring and ginger ale flavor. Ginger ale flavor was similarly defined by the committee as “the flavoring product in which ginger is the primary ingredient,” with or without the inclusion of other additives to enhance the scent and flavor like citrus oils, fruit juices and more.

To make ginger ale, syrup is typically concocted from a blend of water, sugar, ginger ale flavoring, citric or tartaric acid, and caramel coloring. Foam essence is occasionally added, depending on the recipe. From there, this syrup is put through the same process of carbonation innate to the creation of sparkling soda, sparkling water, and other soft drink varieties.

How Does Ginger Beer Differ?

Ginger ale and ginger beer are often mistaken as interchangeable terms. While the beverages are similar, there are a few important distinctions setting the two apart from one another. Ginger beer gained prominence in the markets of the United Kingdom. The drink is generally made through the fermentation of ginger, cream of tartar, sugar, water, and yeast. In some types, citric acid or lemon juice are used. Ginger beer is then bottled and fermented. Unlike ginger ale, ginger beer is generally slightly alcoholic.

Ginger Ale Comes to America

James Vernor of Detroit, Michigan made American history with his innovative creation of Vernor’s Ginger Ale. As the story goes, Vernor was a prominent pharmacist who left his practice to fight in the American civil war. When he left for battle, he left an oak keg behind in his pharmacy containing ginger, vanilla, and various spices. Vernor was away at battle for four long years, and for that time, his keg remained untouched. When he returned to his home safely, he was delighted to discover that a delicious beverage had been formed. While ginger ale had become a staple of Irish culture fifteen years prior, Vernor’s variety was the first home-brewed version of ginger ale in the United States. Ginger ale also holds the title of the first soft drink in American history.

Vernor went on to sell his tasty beverage to his pharmacy’s customers for more than three decades. The beverage was a huge success, earning notoriety far and wide as his customer’s favorite treat. Because of his creation’s popularity, Vernor ultimately opened a factory to mass-produce ginger ale for widespread distribution.

In the late summer of 1928, a Scottish woman was drinking ginger beer when, to her horror, she found a snail in the bottom of her bottle. She quickly became sick and sued the ginger beer distributer - ultimately winning the landmark case against the manufacturer, and laying the groundwork for basics of food and drink production standards to prevent harm to Scottish consumers. We're lucky to live in an era with Food and Drug Safety standards across the United States, so you always know exactly what's in our favorite foods and beverages. Due to the stigma associated with ginger beer throughout this Scottish scandal, the non-alcoholic alternative of ginger ale skyrocketed in Scotland and across Europe. To date, ginger ale remains a popular choice of carbonated beverage to sparkling soda lovers everywhere.

Five Flavorful Sparkling CBD Ginger Ale Cocktails

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Can't get enough Ginger Ale? Neither can we. That's why Colorado's Best Drinks has compiled a few of our favorite cocktail recipes featuring Sparkling CBD Ginger Ale. If you’re a fan of the classic soda flavor’s rich, aromatic taste, you’re sure to love these Sparkling CBD twists on a few delicious drink recipes. Read on for our top five Sparkling CBD Ginger Ale cocktail recommendations for your next night in.

Ginger Cranberry Fizz

This colorful cranberry-infused cocktail adds a sweet, vibrant punch to ginger ale’s classic flavor.

Serves: Two

What You'll Need:

  • Six ounces cranberry flavored vodka OR cranberry moonshine
  • One can Sparkling CBD Ginger Ale
  • Cranberries or raspberries for garnish (optional)
  • Ice

How It's Made:

  1. Fill two tall glasses with ice.
  2. Add three ounces of cranberry flavored liquor to each glass.
  3. Top off each glass with Sparkling CBD Ginger Ale.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Whiskey, Ginger and Lime

Whiskey and ginger ale is a well-known well drink available at bars around the globe. This simple blended beverage with Sparkling CBD Ginger Ale and a splash of lime is as easy to make as it is to love.

Serves: Two

What You'll Need:

  • Three ounces Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • One can Sparkling CBD Ginger Ale
  • One lime
  • Ice

How It's Made:

  1. Add plenty of ice to two high ball glasses.
  2. Add one 1.5 ounce shot of whiskey to each glass.
  3. Top off each glass with Sparkling CBD Ginger Ale.
  4. Gently stir each drink to blend.
  5. Slice lime into large wedges.
  6. Squeeze a large lime wedge into each glass before dropping it into each drink.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Ginger Mint

This delicious beverage carefully couples the flavors of mint, rosemary, lime and basil for a dynamic, delicious ginger ale twist.

Sparkling CBD Ginger Mint Cocktail in Drinking Glass with two colored straws on Wooden Table Beside Blue Wal

Serves: Two

What You'll Need:

  • One can Sparkling CBD Ginger Ale
  • Four ounces lemon juice
  • Two sprigs rosemary
  • Four basil leaves
  • Twelve mint leaves
  • Lime wedges for garnish (optional)
  • Three ounces tequila

How It's Made:

  1. Add all ingredients except ice and ginger ale into a cocktail shaker. Muddle ingredients in the shaker.
  2. Shake vigorously for at least twenty seconds until well-blended.
  3. Strain mixture evenly between both glasses.
  4. Add ice and ginger ale to both glasses to fill.
  5. If desired, add lime wedges for garnish.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Ginger Sour Splash

There’s no need to choose between sweet and sour flavors. The Ginger Sour Splash is the perfect combination of the two.

Serves: Two

What You'll Need:

  • Three ounces whiskey (preferably bourbon)
  • One ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 can Sparkling CBD Ginger Ale
  • Lemon wedges for garnish (optional)
  • Ice

How It's Made:

  1. Fill both glasses with ice.
  2. Add bourbon, lemon juice, and ice to a cocktail shaker.
  3. Shake vigorously until well-blended.
  4. Divide mixture evenly between both glasses.
  5. Divide can of Sparkling CBD Ginger Ale evenly between both glasses to fill.
  6. If desired, add a fresh lemon wedge to the rim of each glass for garnish.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Amaretto CBD Sour

The Amaretto Sour is a classic cocktail for a reason. We’re sure you’ll fall in love with our Sparkling CBD blend.

Serves: Two

What You'll Need:

  • One can Sparkling CBD Ginger Ale
  • Three ounces amaretto
  • One-and-a-half ounces lemon juice
  • Two small sprigs of cedar OR rosemary (for optional decoration)
  • Twine (for optional decoration with sprigs)
  • Ice

How It's Made:

  1. Using twine, tie one cedar sprig to the stem of each wine glass.
  2. Divide amaretto and lemon juice evenly between both glasses.
  3. Stir both glasses gently until well-blended.
  4. Add desired amount of ice to both glasses.
  5. Divide can of Sparkling CBD Ginger Ale evenly between both glasses.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Try Sparkling CBD Ginger Ale Today!

Sparkling CBD Ginger Ale Cans Lined During Production at Colorado's Best Drinks' Manufacturing Facility in Denver

Colorado’s Best Drinks is proud to offer our carefully crafted twist on the long-celebrated classic carbonated beverage. If you’re working from home temporarily, or spending more evenings in than usual, there’s never been a better time to relax and unwind with a can of Sparkling CBD Ginger Ale.

While many of us are currently spending our days indoors to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, there’s no need for social distancing to stop you from enjoying sweet and satisfying sodas and sparkling water products. Visit our Sparkling Shop to order a twelve-pack or a forty-eight pack of Sparkling CBD Citrus Water, Hibiscus Water or our other delicious products today. We'll bring a case to your doorstep- ready to savor straight from the can or in these delicious drink recipes. All five flavors of our sparkling CBD sodas (and our two flavored Sparkling CBD water options) are delicious and refreshing. Our products all contain phytocannabinoid-rich, broad spectrum hemp extract. Better yet, each sparkling CBD beverage flavor is vegan, non-GMO, and free of gluten, sodium, and preservatives. PCR hemp extract is one of just five ingredients in every can of Colorado's Best Drinks, and you’ll taste that sweet simplicity with every sip.