You may be wondering why I’m thinking about Fentiman’s botanically brewed sodas as I’m heading to the SunWineFest this weekend. Perhaps wine and fresh brewed sodas don’t exactly mix but this festival is about so much more than wine. Festivities celebrate good taste both literally and figuratively with top chef tastings from the likes of Todd English and Bobby Flay. Libation samplings run the gamut from craft beers like Sebago Brewing Company to the world’s top spirits Maker’s Mark and Grey Goose. And it’s only common sense that premium cocktails be mixed with the finest ingredients. Ginger beer and tonic are certainly bar staples but for top notch drinks, sodas fermented and brewed with fresh herbs and milled roots for seven full days beat out artificially flavored cans filled with high fructose corn syrup mass produced within hours.
It all started in 1905 when Thomas Fentiman put his recipe for botanically brewed ginger beer to the test. Originally fermented and delivered in stone jars called “Grey Hens”, glass bottles and pasteurization now provide the same distinct flavors with a longer shelf life. The fresh ingredients, unhurried production, and .5 % alcohol content yield extra bold flavors that artfully blend with mixed drinks. Here are some of their popular sodas to give you some ideas:
Traditional Ginger Beer: Made with premium ginger root from the bazaars of Shanghai, with choice juniper and yarrow extracts
from around the globe. Fermenting artisan milled ginger root is the secret behind the “tickle & burn” experienced on the first sip.
Curiosity Cola: A stimulating secret recipe of full-bodied and curiously invigorating herbal ingredients recreating an apothecary’s cola like the old fashioned Cola Cola of the late 19th century.
Victorian Lemonade: Pucker up! The juice of one and a half lemons fresh squeezed into every bottle and blended with fine ginger root, speedwell, and juniper extracts yields an old-fashioned lemonade that’s a genuine thirst quencher.
Mandarin & Seville Orange Jigger: The juice (over 30% of each bottle) of three Mandarins combined with the juice and zest of a Seville orange, added botanicals speedwell, juniper extract, and fermented ginger zap the senses. Oh, and the “jigger”, an old English term for good measure, is still used during production.
Dandelion & Burdock: This full-strength infusion of Dandelion leaves and Burdock root, sweetened with pear juice and spiced with a touch of ginger and anise, all intermingle for an authentic English specialty.
Shandy: The only traditionally brewed shandy on the market with 70% beer! Premium hops and malted barley are brewed and fermented before adding natural lemon juice to create this full-bodied British soda.
photos courtesy of Fentiman’s