Welcome back to the table! We want to inspire everyone we know this season to get back to what matters and back to the real fun of the holidays. Forget the gift shopping, the crazy lists, and the stress. Let’s focus on spending time with the ones we love, the ones who maybe don’t get all the time they should during our busy year. This motivation led us to craft one of our favorite cocktails, the Holiday Spirited Lemon Ginger Beer.
Ginger, basil, and citrus create a distinct and crisp holiday flavor that we can’t get enough of. And obviously, we are all about bubbles. And we came at it from two angles with this recipe. We used our Mountain Valley Sparkling Lime Twist and our favorite ginger beer for a balance of lightness and rich flavor.
If you haven’t tried ginger beer, you’re in for a huge treat! Ginger beer is pretty much just fermented ginger and sugar. Think ginger ale, but natural and with no added sweetener. It has a low alcohol content and live probiotics from the fermentation process, making it a healthier choice than ginger ale or other soft drinks. Our favorite is made locally, but you’ll be able to find a good selection at your local health food store. Mainstream grocery stores should have at least one variety, and if not, you can order online.
But what sets this cocktail over the top are the candied lemon slices. They take around 15 minutes to make, so this isn’t a recipe that you can whip up in a couple minutes. And that’s EXACTLY why we love it! The candied lemon slices are a special touch: something small, made with love that our friends loved. It’s the little things that people remember.
This recipe includes two parts: the candied lemon slices and the ginger beer cocktail. For the first part, you’ll need two thinly sliced lemons (about ¼ inch thick), granulated sugar, water, and lemon juice. For the cocktail, get ready to get your citrus on. You need orange juice and fresh lime juice. We chose to freshly squeeze our own orange juice to get that ultimate fresh taste, but if you’re in a time crunch, regular orange juice from the store will do.
For the bubbles, pick up Mountain Valley Sparkling Lime Twist and the ginger beer of your choice. Finally, you’ll need your favorite bourbon, fresh ginger root, fresh basil, and a little more granulated sugar.
The candied lemon slices are the pièce de résistance. And they’re easy to make. Just add sugar, water, and lemon juice to a deep skillet and bring to a simmer. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Then add the lemon slices and simmer for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through. You’ll then remove the slices and place them on parchment paper. Stick them in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. We went ahead and made lots of them. They’re great to have on hand in the fridge for other cocktails, shots, or even desserts.
Grab your cocktail shaker and pour your bourbon, grated ginger root, sugar, and basil. Muddle these ingredients and then add ice, orange juice, and lime juice. Give a good shake. Pour into glasses and then add ginger beer and Sparkling Lime Twist, giving a quick stir. Garnish with basil, candied lemons, and sliced ginger (optional).
Ingredients (makes 1 serving)
For the Candied Lemon Slices
- 2 lemons sliced thinly, about ¼ inch thick
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup water
For the Ginger Beer Cocktail
- 2 ounces bourbon
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 4 basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger root
- ½ cup Mountain Valley Sparkling Lime Twist
- ½ cup ginger beer
- 2 ounces orange juice
- 1 ½ ounce fresh lime juice
- Basil leaves for garnish
- Sliced ginger for garnish (optional)
1. For the candied lemons, add water, sugar, and lemon juice to a deep skillet. Bring to a simmer and whisk until sugar is completely dissolved. Add lemons in a layer and simmer for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through. Transfer lemons to plate lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
2. Add bourbon, sugar, grated ginger, and basil to the cocktail shaker and muddle ingredients. Add orange juice, lime juice, and a little ice, and shake vigorously.
3. Pour into glasses and add Mountain Valley Sparkling Lime Twist and ginger beer.
4. Garnish with candied lemons and basil leaf. Add sliced ginger as an optional garnish.