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Not-too-sweet drinks in quantity--ginger??

I'm having a valentine's day party this coming saturday for 25-30 people, and I need a suggestion for a second drink. I'm already having a beloved kir royale punch (cranberry juice, creme de cassis, and champagne). Since the party is sort of nice, I don't want beer, but since we're all poor twentysomethings, I also don't want more wine. My first drink is a bit sweet, so I don't want anything fruity for the second choice. I saw an idea in Martha Stewart for a vodka-cucumber-ginger thing that sounds good, but I think the cucumber is too summery.

I do, however, want something clean-tasting and non-fruity. Ideally, it would have gin, but I'm also open to vodka. Also, it can be made in quantity in a pitcher for a crowd (okay if a last-minute addition of something sparkling is called for).

Please help me, because I am really stuck! Maybe what I want doesn't even exist.... :(

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  1. What about a Moscow Mule? It's vodka and ginger beer with a slice of lime. I always have made it by the glass, but I don't see why you couldn't make a pitcher.

    2 Replies
    1. re: brandygirl

      Brandygirl, I think I'm going to riff on your Moscow Mule idea--thanks for leading me in that direction! I've looked at a ton of recipes, and this is what I've come up with. I'll be making it in large 8-drink batches, but below are the quantities per drink. What do you think? I'd love input from more alcohol-knowledgeable people?

      1 oz ginger-spiked simple syrup
      1 oz lime juice
      1 1/2 oz gin
      4 oz ginger ale (easier to find and cheaper than ginger beer, hoping the syrup adds spice)
      Dash of bitters? (have never used them before, so we'll see)

      The gin-spiked simple syrup uses a Martha recipe, surprisingly enough:
      4 oz ginger
      1/2 cup water
      3/4 cup sugar

      1. re: porceluna

        I'm sure this would be tasty, but I'd worry about adding that much simple syrup to the drink in addition to ginger ale (which I find more sweet than ginger beer, although it might just be the lack of burn). I'd also highly recommend seeking out ginger beer over ginger ale, in Dark & Stormies and Moscow Mules, it's definitely the way to go. Buy some cheap, but delicious Gordon's gin and use the money you'll save on the ginger beer...

    2. I'm a huge ginger+gin fan and a restaurant here in NH makes a drink called the Ginger Rodgers. It has gin, ginger beer, sugar, fresh mint, limes. I think it would be pretty easy to make in a large quantity. the only thing difficult to find is the ginger beer. They have it at my local Trader Joes, though I don't know what you have near you. I suppose you could use ginger ale, but I just love ginger beer.

      I googled the drink and found the recipes:

      1 drink:
      fill glass w/ ice
      1 1/5 oz gin
      2/4 oz lime juice
      1 tsp sugar
      fill with ginger beer
      garnish w/ fresh mint & lime wedges

      pitcher:
      fill pitcher w/ ice
      8oz gin
      4 oz lime juice
      2 Tbsp sugar
      fill with ginger beer
      fresh mint & lime wedges

      1 Reply
      1. re: pastryprncess

        You should be able to find ginger beer in a supermarket, in the international foods section. At least I can here in fabulous DC....

      2. You could also make your own Jamaican-style ginger beer using ginger juice (blend with a little some warm water or syrup and push through a sieve), pineapple juice, lime, and sparkling water. You might add simple syrup to adjust for sweetness, but you can also keep it quite dry. This concoction (in the ratios I tend to use) is very spicy and a little goes a long way.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mhoffman

          mhoffman, what are the ratios you use? Making a simple version with sparkling water that ends up rather dry & spicy sounds appealing (and cheaper than ginger beer--am an unfortunately poor 20-something in NYC....)

          1. re: porceluna

            I too am a twenty something, though perhaps not quite as poor because I live in Pittbsurgh, not NYC. ;)

            Well, I tend to make the ginger juice, and the store that and make single drinks from it. I don't remember exactly what I was using since I haven't done this since the summer, But I think I was using bet ween 2 and 4 Tbsp of ginger juice per ice-filled pint glass, and then a teaspoon or two of simple syrup. Of course, if you use more pineapple juice, you'll need less sugar, and if you use more line, you'll need more. The best I can recommend is to make the ginger juice and fool around a bit. Make sure you have a powerful blender and some time on your hands for pressing the pulp through a sieve.

        2. It comes out more like a mojito, but a Gin Gin Mule has a touch of ginger beer in it. Had the opportunity to have one at Pegu Club in Jan. The killer part was the (I'm guessing homemade) candied ginger speared and hanging out of the top. Excellent garnish.

          1. Update: I ended up using ginger beer after all (literally bought out the local TJs). I used 1 oz lime juice, 1.5 oz gin, 4 oz ginger beer per drink, but made in a larger quantity. HUGE success! My guests were shocked that they liked the drink, though I was not ;). Truly quite delish, and not TOO strong. Definitely a keeper!

            1 Reply
            1. re: porceluna

              I'm so glad you used the ginger beer. I love gin, much more than vodka, but I never thought of mixing gin with ginger beer. I'll have to try it.