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There were never any "good old days" — they are today, they are tomorrow
mmm, zingy! 
3rd-May-2008 05:19 pm
amber cocktail
Or Zingy, as the case may be.

The monkey and I are both fond of Fernet Branca with ginger ale. (Yeah, yeah, he's a bartender, we live in the Bay Area, and we drink Fernet. We're 3° off from normal most of the time; we get to be conformist every now and then.)

One of the most common ways of drinking it around here is a shot of Fernet with a ginger ale chaser. Rather than drink it that way, we prefer ginger ale with a Fernet float, a beverage I dubbed the El Perro.*

Why El Perro? Well, the name's in Spanish because the only place that loves Fernet more than San Francisco is Argentina, where Fernet con coca is not only the national drink, it's the name of a pop song that spent weeks at the top of the charts.

¿Y porqué «el perro»? If you drink it without stirring, each sip starts with Fernet and ends with ginger. It's an auto-chaser. *rimshot* Thank you, I'll be here all week.

Anyway, it's been a challenge to find a ginger ale that stands up to the Fernet and balances out its rather assertive flavors, much less find one that's easily available in markets near us. Bundaberg is pretty good, but only available (that we've found) at the Jack London BevMo. Blenheim sounds interesting ("The 'hot' variety is handy for giving yourself a tracheotomy") but I've never seen it around here.

Serendipitously, the latest issue of Imbibe has a recipe for homemade ginger syrup. Right now, there's a stock pot simmering away on the stove containing a pound of ginger (roughly chopped, then whirred in the food processor until finely minced), two cups of sugar, and six cups of water. It smells great. The back of my nostrils tingles every time I inhale deeply.

Zingy indeed.

*I grew up in a state that has "The La Brea Tar Pits", and where most people don't even blink at a construction like "drive south on the El Camino". I plead diminished capacity in the realm of multi-lingual phrases. Je suis una loca Californian.
4th-May-2008 12:57 am (UTC)
It isn't that difficult to make really hardcore ginger beer, as long as you use champagne bottles to contain the pressure you can ferment it in the bottle and pour out through cheesecloth.

A couple of the home made giner ale batches I've made could stand up to armored divisions, let alone Fernet.
4th-May-2008 02:58 am (UTC)
Go away, voice of temptation. *grin*

I used to home-brew, but we got rid of the equipment over time due to space constraints. I'd love to do some brewing again when we have space.

<nostalgic> There was this one insanely spiced beer we made once — the first bottle we tried was so much like being punched in the nose with a pomander orange, we just shoved the other bottles in the back of the closet and forgot about them.

Six months later, in late November, when I opened another bottle, oh my god... it was like alcoholic liquid gingerbread. Soooo good. I have the recipe around here somewhere, I know. I need to go find it and post it so I don't lose it in a fire or something horrible.
4th-May-2008 03:42 am (UTC)
ginger beer is non-alcoholic and doesn't require special brewing equipment. it can even be done in 2L bottles if you are feeling maximally brave.

but do post the recipe.... for 'archival purposes.'
5th-May-2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
And while you're driving south on the El Camino, you can stop at the ATM machine, enter your PIN number, and withdraw cash to buy groceries, but only if the cashier can successfully scan the UPC codes. It's like working at the Department of Redundancy Department.
5th-May-2008 06:54 pm (UTC) - With subtitles!
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