Ginger Ale

Having looked at root beer in our last post, we now examine another popular soft drink with a name that may imply otherwise. Ginger ale.

What is Ginger Ale?
According to the history section at Ginger Ale Authority (GAA), ginger ale, as we know it today, is a sweet soda water with a “kick of ginger root.” Similar to root beer, it started out as a beverage consisting of sweetened water, but flavored with ginger root rather than sassafras root. This recipe was present in England and Ireland in the 1840s before showing up in New York City by the 1850s.

Ginger ale has two distinct types:

According to  the GAA, this type “had a very sweet and bubbly texture, with a strong ginger punch.”

Developed later, “dry ginger ale was less sweet with a powerful paleness” according to the GAA. It was often used to tone down the flavor of Prohibition era bootleg liquors.

Similar to root beer, ginger ale has an alcoholic counterpart in its family tree, ginger beer, which may very well be the topic of a future post.