Hottest ginger cordial recipe
June 28, 2016 2:08 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a recipe for seriously firey, not too sweet or floral, ginger cordial. I'm not looking for a recipe that I'll sip and say "bloody hell that's hot", I'm looking for one that will temporarily rob me of the power of speech.

...OK that's a little hyperbolic, but almost all ginger beers and cordials that brand themselves as strong or firey are disappointing. I had one recently that had a perfect burn to it -- sipping it felt like sipping whisky, which is what I'm after. But it's no longer manufactured, and the friend who gave it to me is hoarding the rest of his supply. (In barrels, under several feet of water, if he has any sense).

The internet is full of recipes but, never having made it before, I don't have a sense of how they're likely to turn out. Instead of trying dozens of variations, I'm after personal recommendations. Ginger fans of AskMe, what's your favourite recipe?
posted by metaBugs to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I like this recipe, but I add a chopped jalapeno for the last 15 minutes. Yes, I know that's cheating, but I don't care. I like it as a cocktail mixed with bourbon, served over ice.
posted by OrangeDisk at 2:15 PM on June 28, 2016

Try the Goya brand ginger beer if you can find it. It uses capsaicin to boost the heat - if you like the effect, you can try OrangeDisk's suggestion.
posted by Candleman at 2:26 PM on June 28, 2016

This is a terrible website but a recipe intended to match a fictional drink called the Ginger Scald, which is supposed to do just that.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:38 PM on June 28, 2016

Your main variables with ginger cordial are
- how much ginger to liquid ratio (slight variation based on how fine you chop and how long you leave it soaking)
- how much sweetener and what kind (i.e. white sugar vs brown sugar vs honey, etc)
- add-on flavors (vanilla for mellowness, peppers for more zing, or this is where you'd add a floral overtone if that was what you were after).
- what type of liquor you soak it all in

Since you say you want a sipping drink, straight-up as opposed to a cocktail mixer, I would stay away from vodka or everclear flavorless bases. My signature recipe is a mellow one - strong, but round not sharp. I throw lots of ginger in the blender with gold or dark rum to get it chopped fine, then leave to soak 2-3 weeks with a vanilla bean, strain out and sweeten to taste with brown sugar at the end, possibly a bit of lemon juice. "Sweeten to taste" is key. Sugar doesn't affect the fieriness of it directly, but you do need some, and too much does make it syrupy and heavy, which isn't what you're after, so add it slowly.

For you, I'd recommend a bourbon or brandy base, plenty of ginger, use the blender to get it chopped fine easily, and soak it for several weeks. Taste it, add a pepper (not too much, you don't want it pepper-flavored, so I'd go with something overpowered like habanero or those tiny thai chilis, rather than something tame like jalapeno that might leave pepper flavors as well as spice). In fact, I recommend pouring out a couple of shots and flavoring them up with slight variations - plain, one slice of pepper macerated with a spoon, two slices. See what tastes right to you, then adjust the whole batch to match it. Then repeat that shot comparison to set your sugar level. Or actually, I'd do sugar first, then spice. Then a final round touching up with things like a drop of vanilla or a drop of lemon juice, see if you want to add any of that to the final batch.
posted by aimedwander at 2:43 PM on June 28, 2016 [13 favorites]

aimedwander, your recipe sounds fantastic. Question for you--are you suggesting that the OP add the pepper to the mixture before letting it sit for a few weeks, or afterward?
posted by lotf629 at 3:07 PM on June 28, 2016

What brand was the one your friend gave you, assuming it was a commercial brand? Aficionados often come to boards and forums online in droves to share test batch samples, recipes, and the like.

I love ginger and often make it a few ways. If you have a high power blender, reduce a knob of ginger to slurry with a small volume of water. You can use that slurry as a base for anything from yeast-fermented ginger beer to a dip for dried apple slices. I often make hot tisane by diluting that slurry 1:4 with water, adding a bit of lemon.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:09 PM on June 28, 2016

In reply to the pepper question - I would macerate, let sit 5-10 minutes, taste, add more pepper or not, and strain it off while it tastes right. This is the kind of thing that I'd want to be pretty careful about the level of pepperiness, and doing a long soak gives you less control. There may be wise comments about how quick vs long soak changes the flavor extraction between the pepper-fruit flavor and the spicy-hot flavor, but I don't have any data on that.
posted by aimedwander at 8:29 AM on June 29, 2016

Thanks for the replies, all!

I tried the simple syrup recipe linked by OrangeDisk but increased the ginger to about 400g, reduced the sugar to 300g, and added ~1/4 of a vanilla pod. Still a bit too sweet, and the vanilla ended up a bit strong, but definitely along the right lines. Very good for version 1!

I was mostly hoping for non-alcoholic recipes, but have a friend staying who loves rum so I also started aimedwander's recipe: ~400g chopped ginger, 1/2 vanilla pod, enough dark rum to cover all the solids. I'll see how it turns out in a few weeks.

late afternoon dreaming hotel - I've no idea of the brand, sorry. If I find out, I'll update the thread.
posted by metaBugs at 2:50 AM on July 4, 2016

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