Like other maligned two-ingredient drinks, the Whiskey Ginger receives an unfair amount of shade—thanks in large part to its primary demographic of new 21-year-olds and the fact that it’s typically made with inferior ingredients. But it’s high time the Whiskey Ginger makes a comeback as the respectable cocktail it can be. First, it just needs a few tweaks. Here are five easy ways to fix your college go-to that will make your next Whiskey Ginger so much better.
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Use a Craft Ginger Ale
The quickest route to a bad Whiskey Ginger is using an overly sweet and artificial ginger ale, which is often what you’ll get out of the soda gun at a bar. At home, take advantage of craft ginger ales with real spicy-sweet ginger flavorings. Our favorite readily available brand is Q Ginger (of equally high-quality Q Tonic fame), which is naturally sweetened with organic agave instead of corn syrup and infused with coriander, cardamom, rose oil and orange peel. Other great brands include ginger- and pure cane sugar-infused Bruce Cost and the century-old Blenheim.
Make a Homemade Ginger Syrup
Create a stronger, more natural ginger flavor in your Whiskey Gingers by using a homemade ginger syrup in place of ginger ale. It may sound complicated, but it’s as easy as simmering slices of fresh, peeled ginger with water and sugar, and straining the mixture into a Mason jar. Then, all you have to do is mix half an ounce of the syrup with whiskey and top with club soda to retain the drink’s refreshing fizziness.
Experiment with Different Whiskies
Irish whiskey—namely Jameson—is the usual suspect in a Whiskey Ginger thanks to its sweet, approachable flavor. But using another kind of whiskey can yield an entirely different flavor. Lean into the spiciness of the ginger by using a rye whiskey (we like Hudson Manhattan or Old Overholt), or shift the flavor profile entirely by making a Presbyterian-inspired Whiskey Ginger with blended scotch.
Turn It Into a Kentucky Mule
The Whiskey Ginger is only a few pivots away from another beloved ginger beverage: the Kentucky Mule, which is—you guessed it—a twist on the copper cup clad Moscow Mule. To make this Southern specialty, opt for bourbon and replace sweet ginger ale with its far spicier cousin ginger beer. Fill the glass with crushed ice and add a squeeze of lime juice to get a refreshing Whiskey Ginger that’s perfect for balmy summer nights.
Use a Ginger Liqueur
If you’re willing to lose the spritz, the flavors of whiskey and ginger can successfully come together in an elegant stemmed cocktail. Shake 1.5 ounces of whiskey with an ounce of Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur and a half ounce of lemon juice—you could even add a dash or two of Angostura bitters for aromatics—and strain into a coupe. Sip it with a pinky out and think of how far you’ve come since your college days, throwing back cheap whiskey and flat ginger ale.