The roots of Ginger Beer lie in the colonial trade routes that brought spices from the Orient and sugar from the Caribbean to Britain in the mid-18th century. The recipe for this popular drink quickly spread to Ireland, America, Canada and South Africa. This century-old recipe was written down by Hildagonda (Hilda) Duckitt on a farm in Darling in the late 19th century.

Hilda was born on the farm Groote Post farm in 1840, the sixth of ten children. She was an avid collector of South African recipes, of a wide variety of origins, including Dutch, German, Malay and East Indian recipes, traditional to the servants of her farm and those of other Cape homesteads. Her recipe collection was published in 1891 and became the go-to book for many Cape hostesses of the day, including such homes as Groot Constantia.

Many of Hilda’s descendants remain in Darling, including her great-great-nephew Chris who works at Darling Brew. It seems inevitable that ginger beer would be made at the brewery in Darling on the Cape West Coast. Naturally brewed the old-fashioned way using fresh ginger, whole lemons and time, ‘Jinja’ is a refreshing, crisp non-alcoholic ginger beer with a balanced sweetness and a peppery spicy finish.

The spelling of the name ‘Jinja’ has an indirect Darling Brew connection, linking back to Darling Brew co-founders Kevin and Philippa Wood’s journey through Africa that sparked the idea to create premium quality craft beer. One of their many stops on their travels was the town of Jinja in Uganda on the shores of Lake Victoria.

Ginger is considered one of the healthiest spices, used in various forms of traditional or alternative medicine since as early as 500 BC to aid digestion, reduce nausea and help fight the flu and common cold. Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in ginger, responsible for much of its medicinal properties. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. These anti-inflammatory properties have shown to be effective against exercise-induced muscle over time as well reducing the pain of Osteoarthritis sufferers. Besides helping to alleviate the nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, studies are being made into the use of raw ginger extract following possible evidence that ginger may be effective in treating colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

‘Jinja’ is naturally brewed and preservative free and, with all the benefits of the main ingredient, a wonderful choice for the more health conscious.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

Moscow Mule

Fill a tall glass with ice. Combine ¼ cup vodka, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice and ½ cup chilled Jinja beer. Garnish with lime wedge.

Keep things traditional by using a copper mug.

Dark & Stormy

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add 60 ml dark rum and 1 tablespoon lime juice. Shake well. Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Stir in 90 ml ginger beer. Skewer a candied ginger slice and lime wheel and garnish the cocktail.