Ginger liqueur

Here we are again, examining the concepts of SUCCESSIVE APPROXIMATION and GESTALT though the mysterious world of craft cocktails.

I invented a cocktail a few years ago called the Swedish Weasley, a variation of the estimable Sidecar:

The Swedish Weasley

  • 1 oz Karlsson's Gold vodka
  • 1 oz ginger liqueur (Canton, King's Ginger, or as you will see, etc.)
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice

Shake with ice, serve in a cocktail glass. Garnish however you wish.

It's called a Swedish Weasley because the vodka is a tasty, earthy vodka from Sweden, and because the Weasleys... well, you know.*

Today I decanted my very own homemade ginger liqueur.  I'll get to the recipe in a moment, but first, let's do a comparison of the stuff


On the left, the lead ginger, Domaine de Canton.  On the right, the up-and-comer King's Ginger.  In the center, my own ginger-lemon liqueur.

The Canton was clear, to my surprise.  The King's Ginger is a little golden, and my stuff is more golden and a little cloudy.

Here is my assessment:

Canton: It's sweeter than the other two, but the ginger is hot and bright that ramps up in the mouth.  I would describe its "envelope," if I may borrow a term from digital music synthesis, like this:

the attack/decay/sustain/release envelope of domaine de canton.

the attack/decay/sustain/release envelope of domaine de canton.

King's Ginger: Rather booze-forward, the ginger is hotter right off the bat, a more explosive attack in the envelope.  Not as sweet as Canton.

the attack/sustain/release/decay envelope of King's Ginger.

the attack/sustain/release/decay envelope of King's Ginger.

My ginger-lemon liqueur: More lemon up front.  The ginger is more steady-state, and not as strong as the other two, though still present.  Good stuff, but I'd like to see if I could improve it.

The attack/decay/sustain/release envelope of my ginger liqueur.

The attack/decay/sustain/release envelope of my ginger liqueur.

So, using my GESTALT senses, I think I could halve the lemon peel in the recipe, plus perhaps dice the ginger root more finely and leave the whole concoction to steep another day or two, perhaps even removing the lemon peel after three days or something.  More of a hint of lemon than flavor, and a much hotter ginger effect.

Now I have to drink it all, so that I can move on to the next SUCCESSIVE APPROXIMATION.  Swedish Weasley, anyone?


  • 3.5 oz of ginger root, diced into small dice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, sliced and seeds scraped
  • peel of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 cups of vodka

Add all ingredients to a large glass jar.  Shake vigorously and put on a shelf for two days.   Shake once or twice every day.

Removed the vanilla bean after the second or third day (taste to determine).  Let sit for another 3–4 days with intermittent agitation.

Strain out the solids with a fine mesh strainer.  Press or squeeze the ginger to recover as much liquid as possible.

Filter the liquid through two coffee filters.  Replace filters during the process when they clog.

Bottle your liqueur and let it sit for an extra day to mellow.

* If you are one of those people who honestly do not know: the Weasley family were famously all redheads (gingers) in the world ofHarry Potter.