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