The Ginger Bear and Ginger Cub

This ginger cocktail works with or without booze.

On Friday nights, I've started working with my kids on fun drinks and have found real joy in making drinks that work for everyone, whether they imbibe or abstain.

Ginger is a wondrous ingredient. It can bring spice, but is also soothing. It can be fiery while quenching your thirst. In the Ginger Bear and the Ginger Cub – its nonalcoholic partner – ginger provides a subtle counterbalance to the sweetness of pear and acidity of lemon. So gather your family together and those who imbibe (and those who don’t) can make this cocktail/NA cocktail duo that is right for any season. 

The key ingredient is ginger simple syrup, which needs about an hour if you include the time to prep, heat and cool. It’s just three ingredients: ginger, water and granulated white sugar. 

Ginger Simple Syrup 

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2-inch piece ginger or 3 pieces of candied ginger, peeled and chopped

| Preparation | Peel and roughly chop a two-inch piece of fresh ginger (or three pieces of crystallized ginger). In a medium saucepan, heat ½ cup of water, ½ cup of white sugar and the chopped ginger over low heat. Stir frequently until the sugar is dissolved. Your syrup should be light yellow in color. 

Remove from the heat. Let cool completely. Remove the ginger from the syrup, which can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for two weeks. 

Ginger Bear (Cocktail)

Serves | 1 |

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz pear nectar
  • ½ oz lemon juice
  • ½ oz ginger simple syrup (recipe above)
  • 2 oz ginger ale or ginger beer

Ginger Cub (NA Cocktail) 

Serves | 1 |

  • 2 oz pear nectar
  • 1 oz ginger simple syrup
  • ½ oz lemon juice
  • 4 oz unflavored seltzer or soda water

Note: If you don’t have pear nectar, you can substitute apple cider or the juice from a can of pears. 

| Cocktail Preparation | Add bourbon, pear nectar, lemon juice and ginger simple syrup to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until cold. Pour in a lowball glass filled with ice. Float the ginger ale or ginger beer on top. 

| NA Cocktail Preparation | Add pear nectar, lemon juice and ginger simple syrup to a shaker with ice. Shake until cold. Pour into a lowball glass with ice. Top with unflavored seltzer or soda water.