Review: Cock 'n Bull Ginger Beer


Guest reviewer and vintage soda enthusiast George Tsakiridis returns with another review.

Continuing our journey through old time soda enjoyment thanks to the folks at Old 52 General Store, today we look at Cock 'n Bull Ginger Beer.

Cock 'n Bull Ginger Beer

Cock 'n Bull has been around since 1946, per the callout on bottle, denoting this as "The Extra Ginger Soft Drink." That's about all I can tell you, since their their website is currently under construction. However, if you poke around the 'net for information, you might happen upon this story:

Once upon a time, say, back in the 1940s, vodka was little known in the United States, and gin reigned supreme as the clear spirit of choice. A gentleman by the name of John G. Martin, president of G.F. Hueblein Brothers, Inc., had a wild notion. He bought a vodka distiller, and acquired a vodka recipe that had belonged to a Russian family named Smirnov. Martin was sure everyone would love it.

Unfortunately, Martin was a man ahead of his time. Vodka wasn't a smash hit. In fact, he had a hard time giving the stuff away, and he hit the road on a sales trip. He made it to Hollywood, where he stopped at the Cock 'n' Bull for a bite to eat. He struck up a conversation with the owner, Jack Morgan, and learned that Morgan had a white elephant of his own, the ginger beer he made on the side.

The final ingredient in their marketing scheme involved a friend of Morgan's. She had inherited a copper factory, and had an abundance of copper cups to offload. They decided to sell and serve a new cocktail in one of the copper cups, engraved with the picture of a kicking mule.

The 12 oz bottle is dark brown with painted labeling, a huge plus for me as I prefer it to the paper labels, especially if you are interested in saving the bottle. On the back of the label there is even a recipe for a Moscow Mule, thus hinting that this ginger beer works as a mixer as well. The cap is a twist off, although that doesn't seem to be clear from the packaging.

Moving to the contents, the ingredient list reads as follows: Carbonated Water, Real Sugar, Citric Acid, Caramel Color, Natural Flavors, and less than 1/10 of 1% Sodium Benzoate as a preservative. A 12 oz bottle contains 140 calories, 40 mg sodium, and 35 g carbs (35 g sugar).

After opening the cap, there's a whiff of intense ginger aroma, a good sign for a soda that bills itself as having "Extra Ginger." Upon first taste, I sense sweetness mixed with ginger; the carbonation is not overly heavy. In fact, the first aftertaste is a sweet one, but that clears very quickly. Then the burn sets in. It's a good burn for those that like ginger and there is definitely a noticeable quantity of ginger to be had. I sense a slight clearing in my sinuses.

The color of the liquid is slightly hazy and golden, what you might expect out of a ginger ale/beer although definitely cloudier than some, at least to my recollection. Honestly, the drink itself doesn't scream ginger until the aftertaste sets in. I suspect that is what separates true ginger ale enthusiasts from those that want to grab a typical store brand.

Overall, I like it. The burn is good, and I would definitely drink it again if offered. I also enjoy the fact that it might actually help settle my stomach, if needed, as ginger has some health benefits. For those used to typical mainstream ginger ale, such as Canada Dry, this might be too "gingery" for their taste, but still worth a try (the rhyme there was not intentional, but I figure I'll point it out). I do like the fact that they actually use ginger in a noticeable quantity. In the end, I would recommend it; real sugar combined with heavy ginger makes for a winner, but again, those not used to the burn of a ginger beer might want to be warned.

 


Old 52 General StoreFull Disclosure: This beverage was provided compliments of Old 52 General Store

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