Ask any bartender and he’ll tell you: People love ginger in their cocktails. But ginger can be tricky. It’s an intense flavor that can easily overwhelm other ingredients. And while most mixologists use fresh ginger juice in their drinks, it’s a total pain to make — logical to prep ahead of time in a bar setting, but are you really gonna pull out the juicer for half an ounce?
Here to the rescue for home bartenders is Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur, made, perhaps unsurprisingly, in Brooklyn. Now available across the country, it’s a reasonably low-proof liqueur (22% ABV) that packs a powerful, sinus clearing, wow-that’s-gingery punch, with enough sweetness to balance it out. It’s a great bottle to have on hand when you want to ginger-up your favorite cocktail without too much effort. Here are three of our favorite ways to use it.
Easy: Ginger 75
Ginger and citrus play nicely together, so we knew Barrow’s would be excellent in a French 75 — a bright, bubbly cocktail with gin, lemon, and sparkling wine. (Some ’75 enthusiasts make theirs with Cognac, but for this version gin works a lot better.)
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 1 ounce of gin, 1/2 an ounce of lemon juice, 1/2 an ounce of Barrow’s Intense, and 1/4 ounce of simple syrup. Shake all that up well, then strain into a cocktail flute. Top with 2 ounces of sparkling wine and garnish with a long, thin lemon peel.
Intermediate: Ginger Margarita
Doesn’t saying “ginger margarita” just make you want one? Tequila and lime are sharp, vibrant flavors on their own, which makes ginger fit right in. We’re using reposado tequila to add a little more depth and body.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 2 ounces of reposado tequila, 1 ounce of lime juice, 3/4 ounce of Barrow’s Intense, and 1/4 ounce of simple syrup. Shake all that up, then strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a few lime wheels.
Advanced: Ginger Sour
A real whiskey sour is a perfect, mellow backdrop for the ginger.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker without ice, combine 2 ounces of rye, 3/4 ounce of lemon juice, 3/4 ounce of Barrow’s Intense, and 1/4 of simple syrup. Add 1 fresh egg white. Shake all that up without ice, then add ice and shake again. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon wheel and a brandied cherry.