How to Make a Classic "Whiskey Ginger"
Sometimes, the simplest things in life are the most satisfying. Complicated drinks have their place, but it’s the humble classics that you’ll keep coming back to.
You can think of the whiskey ginger as a cousin of the Jack and coke or whiskey highball. Drinks that highlight the combination of whiskey and some type of soda are hugely popular, and it’s easy to see why. They take the edge off whiskey with a pleasant fizzy mouthfeel.
In this article, we’re going to show you how to make a whiskey ginger. There’s really not much that can go wrong, so let’s jump right in.
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What’s in a Whiskey Ginger
The perfect whiskey ginger strikes a balance between a peaty Irish whiskey and sweet ginger ale. Then, a hint of lime brings the combination into a cohesive mixed drink. If successful, it’s one of the best ways to enjoy Irish whiskey. It’s a masterclass in how two basic ingredients can work together to make something wonderful.
Like most whiskey/soda combos, it’s served over ice and meant to go down easily and smoothly. Because it’s so simple, and because of its relatively high alcohol content, whiskey ginger is a popular drink for home baristas.
You won’t want to use your Bushmills 21 or Teeling Vintage Reserve in a whiskey ginger, if you have any sense. As a mixed drink, you’re better off using good old Jameson, or something in that quality and price range.
Ginger ales are largely interchangeable. Some may work better with certain brands of whiskey, but the classic choice is Seagram’s.
How to Make a Whiskey Ginger
The making of a whiskey ginger can be summed up in a single sentence. But for the sake of being thorough, here’s a step-by-step breakdown:
- Assemble the ingredients. You’ll need enough ice to fill a highball glass, your choice of Irish whiskey, chilled ginger ale, and a lime wedge.
- Fill a highball glass with ice. Or, use as much ice as you need to achieve the right dilution (more on this later).
- Pour two ounces of Irish whiskey over the ice.
- Fill the rest of the glass with ginger ale (about five ounces).
- Squeeze the lime wedge into the drink and drop it in.
- Stir lightly with a long-handled bar spoon and serve immediately.
And that’s your classic whiskey ginger. Once you make it a few times and learn what you like and dislike, you can start playing around with the ingredients to achieve the perfect balance.
Now, if you want to mix it up a bit, there are a few variants you can try. These are also quite simple to make and only alter a few ingredients, but you could end up with a drink you really love.
Whiskey Ginger Variants
None of these can technically be called a whiskey ginger, but they’re some really awesome mixed drinks. If you like whiskey gingers, give these a try for a change.
Once simply a mixture of ginger ale and a lemon peel, the horse’s neck dates back to turn-of-the-century upstate New York. Eventually, bourbon was added to make a “stiff horse’s neck” and now it’s the standard presentation of the drink.
It replaces Irish whiskey with bourbon or brandy and the lime wedge with a spiral of lemon. Angostura bitters are optional as well, but not necessary.
One of the easiest variations you can make on the whiskey ginger. The only thing you’ll change is the whiskey. Instead of Irish whiskey, you’ll use a blended Scotch. The proportions and preparation remain the same.
Some people prefer the peaty, smokey flavor profiles of Scotch and these flavors work just as well with ginger ale.
Yet another variant you can try without a fancy name is simply swapping out the ginger ale for lemon-lime soda. It’s mostly the same drink with a slightly different flavor profile. With 7 Crowns whiskey, this makes the celebrated “Seven and Seven.”
This variation is almost a completely new drink, so it’s fair to call it an alternative instead. Gin buck is a play on an Irish buck, which is another name for a whiskey ginger.
Instead of whiskey, this drink uses an equal proportion of gin and incorporates a half-ounce of lemon juice for a zesty kick. It’s a little more biting than a whiskey ginger, but it’s more geared toward summer backyard parties than a night out.
Whiskey Ginger FAQs
Here are answers to some of the most common questions you might have about whiskey gingers.
What’s the best Irish whiskey to use in a whiskey ginger?
Ultimately, this is a question of preference. But as stated earlier in this article, you’re not doing yourself any favors using a sipping whiskey in a mixed drink.
The classic whiskey for a whiskey ginger is Jameson, even earning the moniker “Jameson and ginger.” You can order a bottle of Jameson for delivery here.
What is the difference between Irish mule, Irish buck, and whiskey ginger?
The names Irish buck and whiskey ginger are interchangeable to all intents and purposes. And Irish mule is a similar drink, but it uses ginger beer instead of ginger ale. Although they’re closely related, ginger beer is substantially different to ginger ale.
Can I use ginger syrup instead of ginger ale for a whiskey ginger?
Well, in theory, yes. But it’s not recommended. The flavor of ginger is only one component of the drink. The carbonation of ginger ale is another essential part. Moreover, using ginger syrup will leave you short on dilution, so you’ll end up with a much stronger drink or you’ll need to use water to further dilute it.
The Simplest Drinks Are the Best
Whether you’re getting ready for St. Paddy’s day celebrations or just trying to enjoy a night out, try a whiskey ginger the next time you’re in the mood for a drink. Follow the instructions above for a foolproof recipe that will work every time.
Just keep three key principles in mind when you’re making it. Use a mixing whiskey, don’t be afraid to play around with the dilution, and never skimp on the ice in a whiskey highball.