Another beverage we checked out during our time at the 2010 National Restaurant Association show here in Chicago was Fresh Ginger Ginger Ale. While the name may seem repetitive, I assure you, this is a wonderful beverage and probably one of the best ginger ales we’ve ever tasted. At the NRA show, we got the chance to talk to company owners Bruce Cost and Kavi Reddy about their line of three flavors. For this review we’ll focus on Fresh Ginger Ginger Ale – Original.
Mr. Cost started the Big Bowl and Wow Bao restaurants in Chicago with Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises in 1995. Almost a decade earlier, he authored a book entitled Ginger East to West that is best described as a cookbook that traces the history of ginger and the associated drink itself.
At his 11 restaurant locations, they started making ginger ale from scratch and serving it to customers, selling an estimated 3 million drinks (per their website). Based on this success, he recently partnered with a Brooklyn, NY-based bottler to bring the product to market.
The result is the Fresh Ginger Ginger Ale brand, available in Original, Jasmine Green Tea, and Pomegranate flavors. Our 12 oz. glass bottle of Original Ginger flavor features very “earthy” branding, with simple label design that reflects a homemade nature. The coloring of the beverage is on par with the yellowish hue that might be associated with lemonade.
The label clearly denotes that this drink is “Unfiltered” and that’s very much true. You can actually see ginger floating around inside the bottle, which is why they also note on the label that “Separation is natural. Shake gently.”
This drink is pretty basic in ingredients:
Fresh Ginger Ginger Ale – Original
Carbonated water, pure cane sugar, 100% fresh ginger, and citric acid
That’s it, but the combination and dosage of these ingredients make something quite magical.
Now real ginger ale is nothing like the standard stuff you see on the shelf from the likes of Canada Dry, Schweppes, or Seagram’s. We’ve tasted quite a few in the past, including Boylan Bottleworks Ginger Ale, Krest Ginger Ale, Canada Dry Cranberry Ginger Ale, and Canada Dry Green Tea Ginger Ale. There are quite a few authentic tasting brands out there a well, some featuring that “spicy, burning” sensation that is typically associated with a quality ginger ale.
What’s unique about Fresh Ginger Ginger Ale, aside from its strong ginger scent, is that it manages to actually make the tasting experience smooth and subtle… with just a nice touch of burn in the back of your throat during the aftertaste. A nicely chilled bottle of this stuff really does an impressive job providing a refreshing experience. It tastes clean, natural, and quite different from most products you associate with the genre. That can probably be attributed to the deep knowledge that founder Bruce Cost has with the subject matter of ginger. His ability to bend it to work for his tastes is evident. The use of cane sugar is icing on the cake, and surprisingly, doesn’t make the drink too sweet like a Jones Soda product might. Since each batch is created “by hand”, there is the possibility that different bottling runs will have distinct tastes.
A 12 oz. bottle features 160 calories, 40 g carbs (37 g sugars), and even includes 6% of your recommended daily dosage of Vitamin C and 10% of iron.
Overall, Fresh Ginger Ginger Ale Original by Bruce Cost is one outstanding beverage. The distinctive ginger taste, pure ingredients, quality mouthfeel, and “refreshing” factor make this one of our favorites in the ginger ale category. Distribution is limited, with availability in New York and some other states, so it may be a challenge to track down. However, if you do, it’s well worth it. This stuff is quite the treat!
Official Website: FreshGingerAle.com
Full Disclosure: This beverage was provided compliments of BCGA Concept Corp.