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Ginger is for Lovers

A cocktail strong enough for a man, but made for (and by) a woman.

During the 70s, there was a brief period – about ten minutes – during which my tween brain was fascinated by state tourism slogans. Live Free or Die was a ringing endorsement for New Hampshire. I Love NY was accompanied by a jingle that I still think is pretty catchy. (Across the Hudson, the Garden State, from which I hail, has never managed to come up with anything memorable, so "the armpit of the nation" will have to suffice.) And then there was Virginia Is For Lovers. I couldn't figure out why anyone might conflate Virginia, in particular, with romance, but didn't give it another thought until this week, when I decided to adapt their slogan for my latest concoction.

It turns out there were people who saw that slogan and wondered, "...for lovers of what?" I'm afraid I don't have the answer to that question, but anyone who samples this cocktail will realize immediately that Ginger is for Lovers...of ginger. This isn't the genteel ginger of tisanes or lemonades or pickled Japanese condiments. This ginger in this cocktail has heat, it has bite, it has structure. It's strong enough for a man, but made by a woman.

The basic recipe calls for mango whiskey, ginger juice, and lime juice. (Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as mango whiskey – not to be confused with mango jalapeno whiskey, which might generate an altogether different kind of heat.) You can buy the juice from Ginger People, but I made my own by combining ginger root and water in a high performance blender. Feel free to use a juicer if you have one. Straining the blended juice certainly yields a prettier result, but I didn't bother.

Sounds like work, you say? Perhaps, but the result is a perfectly balanced marriage of flavors. The heat from the ginger stands up to the bite from the whiskey, while the lime serves as an informal officiant. I recommend initially following the recipe as is. It yields a smallish amount – something that no American would recognize as a cocktail – but that gives you a chance to decide whether you like it before making a full commitment. If you decide to go all in, double the recipe for one serving, quadruple it for two, and so on.

Ginger is for Lovers

1½ oz mango whiskey

1 oz ginger juice

½ oz lime juice

Shake with ice and serve in a cocktail glass.

Ginger juice:

Blend a piece of ginger root (approximately 1.5 inches) with 1 cup of water.

Strain as desired. (This could take a while, so plan ahead or just be grateful for the extra fiber.)

Antonia Helios hails from sturdy peasant stock and has the flat feet to prove it. She is profoundly

ignorant on many subjects but an enthusiastic autodidact when it comes to alcohol.

Photo of ginger by Joris Neyt from Pexels

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