Ginger is one of a few naturally occurring phenomenon like liquorice, aniseed and marmite (well ok, that’s not natural) that has a taste totally unique to itself. A miracle of weirdness – spicy, sweet, sharp, sour and crazy all in one freakish root vegetable. Capable of turning the bland into the exciting, the insipid to the downright overpowering, ginger is definitely one of my favourite super foods. Wikipedia explains: “The characteristic odor and flavor of ginger is caused by a mixture of zingerone, shogaols and gingerols, volatile oils that compose one to three percent of the weight of fresh ginger.” This may not mean much, but in my opinion the presence of something called ‘zingerone’ in anything, instantly elevates it to greatness.
Still, tastes like liquorice, aniseed and of course ginger tend to divide the population. You either love them or hate them. One man’s zingerone is another person’s anti-toblerone.
If you hate ginger I would stop reading here. You definitely will not like SodaStream Ginger Ale flavour which even in synthetic form will fill you with fear and loathing. If you do like ginger (like me), lets dose up a bottle and see what we can find!
Ok, so as ever I figured put as much fizz in as possible, so I did. I was lucky this time and as I added the syrup, though it threatened to generate enough froth to re-stickify the kitchen, it resisted the temptation. A quick burst of chillifying in the fridge while I tucked into my chicken goujons and I was ready to pour.
Right, break it down: a lemony citrus taste, overtones of lemonade in fact, followed by the surprise karate chop of ginger hitting the top of the tongue and the back of the throat. Sugar kaleidoscopic. A complex taste, with waves of flavour a smooth aftertaste and fine aroma. Infusions of iced tea, the sound of bells ringing and a high pitched whine which fades to the echoes of a Miles Davis trumpet solo.
Well some of that was made up, but you get the gist. Essentially, SodaStream Ginger Ale hits mainly the right notes – the black keys so to speak. It’s refreshing like lemonade, but interesting like vimto. It’s thirst quenching and it is moreish. Once again Wikipedia tells me that: “Ginger has a sialagogue action, stimulating the production of saliva, which makes swallowing easier”. I had never really thought about this before, but it’s definitely true.
To throw in a couple of negatives, I would say two things: 1) That this flavour doesn’t seem to hold or maximise the potential of fizz as well as some of the other official flavours and 2) my biggest criticism is that ginger ale is not ginger beer. Yes, obvious I know, but lets face it, refreshing and lemony though it is ginger ale gets hundred-hand-slapped, thrown through the saloon doors and smashed through a makeshift table by it’s bigger, badder brother ginger beer.
Well, we all know that Ginger beer is the drink of the gods and potentially the only justification for paying over £1.20 for a can in Pret a Manger, but that my friends is another story. For now, I am pleased that SodaStream has seen fit to bring Ginger ale in and thus temporarily satiate my ginger fixation. Of course, ginger ale is really intended for mixing with alcoholic beverages and at some point I may reflect on the value of contaminating your fizz with booze…. but today is not the day. For now, lets celebrate the joyous appearance of another tasty flavour and lets raise a glass to zingerones whoever they may be.