With the Moscow Mule’s recent surge in popularity, ginger beer has also seen a boom. The spicy, nonalcoholic beverage is a key component of the classic cocktail served in a copper mug, and now, a group of bartenders is bringing high-quality, locally made ginger beer to New Orleans with Huhu’s Ginger Brew.
Huhu’s was developed in New Orleans by a bartender who made ginger beer at home and distributed it to bars around the city. When he decided to move back to his hometown of Seattle, he sold his original ginger beer recipe and equipment to Benton Bourgeois, Danielle Hammett Bourgeois, Matthew Gardner, and Sarah Pearson, who now operate a company called Brass City Shrub & Soda. Currently, Huhu’s Ginger Brew is the only product the company distributes, but it has more products in development, including pineapple and strawberry shrubs.
Huhu’s Ginger Brew contains just four ingredients: ginger, lemon, sugar, and water. Compared to other ginger beers that are on the market, Huhu’s packs a spicier punch of ginger and has a considerably lower sugar content (8 grams per 12-ounce serving). The lemon adds a touch of tartness to the beverage.
“We hand-juice the ginger and lemon,” Danielle says. “Everything that we put into our product is fresh. And we’re using actual, real ginger juice, and a good bit of it. . . .The heat and the spice really come through.”
In New Orleans, you can find Huhu’s Ginger Brew on draft at bars and restaurants all over town, from Mid-City to Uptown to the French Quarter. The company also recently started bottling the product.
While bartenders around the city use the ginger beer for classic applications like Moscow mules, they are also using it in more creative ways. At Curio in the French Quarter, bartenders mix it with tequila, bay leaf peppercorn syrup, and lemon juice for the Cocktail Coronado. As bartenders, Sarah and Danielle recognize that customers are trending toward simpler cocktails with easy-to-recognize ingredients. Danielle prefers Huhu’s Ginger Brew in a Dark ’n’ Stormy, while Sarah enjoys it in Moscow mules; but they emphasize that it’s equally delicious on its own or with a variety of liquors.
“With our ginger beer, people have the opportunity to have a really good, handcrafted drink, but all you have to do is just add the ginger beer and your spirit of choice, and—boom—there you go,” Sarah says.
Where to find it in New Orleans
- 4 fresh mint leaves
- 2 fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
- 2 ounces Pimm’s No. 1 liqueur
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- 4 slices English cucumber
- 3 ounces ginger beer*
- Garnish: cucumber slice, strawberry slice, mint
- Fill a Collins glass with ice.
- In a cocktail shaker, muddle mint and strawberries. Add Pimm’s No. 1, lime juice, agave nectar, and cucumber slices. Add ice. Cover and shake until very cold. Strain into prepared glass, and top with ginger beer. Garnish with cucumber, strawberry, and mint, if desired.