So began the instructions for this fun little experiment. A kit, including a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red Label and four jars of different types of ginger, arrived last week. The idea is to create an ale, beer or syrup to accompany the whisky.
“Johnnie & Ginger are the perfect combination, but different ginger mixers can complement the different sides to Johnnie Walker Red Label – so whether you want to bring out the fire, zest or spice of the ginger it’s up to you – just adjust the recipe to suit”
With limited time and even more limited resources (no large plastic bottles in which to ferment the brew) a hurried few hours and an overnight ferment resulted in….
Tasteless, bubbly bath water with a flavour that hardly tickled the taste buds never mind bringing out the zest or the fire! A re-think and reattempt was required.
Thinking back to the Gin Lab Experience – although that was a distillation rather than using yeast – I pulled out a host of different, hopefully complementary, flavourings. Lime leaves, orange peel, lemon juice, a cinnamon stick, an Indonesian pepper, Sichuan pepper, nutmeg and a pile of frozen ready grated ginger. Using a mix of palm sugar and golden granulated I made a syrup and left the various flavourings to simmer and then cool in the liquid. In a plastic squeezy bottle this syrup was then topped up with water, yeast, lemon juice, and three of the ginger samples as supplied (pickled sweetened ginger, Chinese ginger and galangal ginger) were left in a suitably warm place to do its stuff.
The result? Well an over night ferment resulted in a nicely coloured drink that, while it had a decent depth of flavour, wasn’t really as spikily gingerish as I had hoped. But no time (and no remaining ginger or yeast) to have another play as the bottle was to be picked up by courier to be returned to the Jonnie Walker people. If I did have time to repeat I would have doubled or even trebled the amount of the syrup and added less water at the top up stage.
Wish me luck as the sample is to be judged by ‘flavour experts’ Bompass and Parr and Ross Purnell, Johnnie Walker Red label’s London Brand Ambassador…