This theme gave me the perfect excuse to go out and buy a curiosity I have seen on the shelves but had never had or heard anyone mixing with -- Stone's Original Green Ginger Wine. Stone's is a British recipe that dates back to 1740 which uses currant wine as a base and is spiced with ground ginger. Throughout its history it has been touted as a digestive aid, cholera protectant, and aphrodisiac, and has been used as not only a beverage but a cooking ingredient. Stone's weighs in at only 13.5% alcohol (although they sell a Reserve version at 18% that I have never seen) with a price tag of about $11. Flavor-wise, it is not as robust as say Domaine de Canton and can be drank straight. And with such a low proof, it will not be as shelf stable as the ginger liqueur; however, the price seemed right at more than 3 times cheaper.
For ginger wine recipes, I found a few on the Stone's website as well as CocktaiDB and I picked one from each. The first one we made was from the cocktail database under the ingredient "ginger wine" called the Commonweal Cocktail. The Stone's website said that their product mixes well with whiskey so I went with this recipe, for it uses blended Scotch, over some of the other recipes.
Commonweal CocktailThe Commonweal was rather smoky and winy with a citrus bite. With this proportion, the ginger taste was very faint on the swallow. Indeed ginger was a flavor component albiet a more minor one in this mix.
• 1 oz Blended Scotch
• 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
• 1/2 oz Ginger Wine
• 1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
For our next cocktail, we went with one off the Stone's site that had a bigger swig of ginger wine in it to make a more pronounced ginger-flavored cocktail. The one we chose was a gin-based tall drink, the Gamble.
GambleFor a gin, we stuck with the British theme and chose Beefeater. Lacking Creme de Muir, we substituted Creme de Cassis. Knowing that our Creme de Cassis is rather dense, I took the gamble of trying to float the liqueur. Instead we ended up with a beautiful sink of it at the bottom. The Gamble was rather gingery. The ginger seemed to work well with the Beefeater's botanicals; in fact, it was hard to tell at times where the gin ended and the ginger began. The Cassis added a very sweet note at the bottom and either the straw height had to be adjusted or the drink had to be stirred to make the drink a bit drier. Perhaps using a claret float would have been a better choice than a dense and sweet liqueur. Overall, the Gamble was a good display of the Stone's product.
• 1 oz Gin
• 2 oz Ginger Wine
• 1 oz Lemon Juice
• 1/2 oz Gomme (or Simple) Syrup
Shake with ice and strain into a highball glass filled with crushed ice. Float a 1/2 oz of Creme de Muir on top. Garnish with a lemon slice and two straws.