The Jamaica Ginger is cocktail number 46 on the Swank Cocktail Guide.
Jamaica Ginger cocktail history
Jamaica Ginger, or “Jake,” has quite a storied past.
Jamaica Ginger began being sold in drug stores around 1860 for medicinal purposes and was touted as “a delicious, refreshing wholesome safe remedy for ailments peculiar to summer, to change of food, water and climate.”
As Jamaica Ginger had a very high alcohol content, its popularity increased when Prohibition took effect in the 1920s. Per newspaper reports, the consequences of concoctions made with Jamaica Ginger ranged from drunkenness and addiction to paralysis and death.
With such an unpleasant past, why would Jamaica Ginger be used to name a cocktail not containing any ginger (nor the original Jamaica Ginger), on the Swank Cocktail Guide, ca. 1950s? That is unknown. Jamaica Ginger’s mystery and scandal seemed to continue for some time after Prohibition. Numerous films, books, and songs since the late 1920s referenced “Jake” and its effects.
Jamaica Ginger cocktail recipe
2/3 Jamaica Rum, 1/3 Grenadine, 3 dashes each Maraschino and Curaçao, 1 dash Angostura Bitters. Shake well with ice. Strain into glass.
- Appleton Estate Jamaican Rum
- Rose’s Grenadine
- Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
- Hiram Walker Blue Curaçao
- Angostura Bitters
Jamaica Ginger cocktail review
Our ratings (1-5 🍸)
The Jamaica Ginger reminds me of a rum punch you are handed when walking into a party or dinner on Martinique or Guadeloupe – or one of the other islands where rum is produced. The punch is usually a little too sweet and has a bit too much rum. It’s drinkable, but then you go to the bar and order something you want.
Next up… Cocktail # 47, King Alphonse