The King’s Ginger
In 1901 King Edward VII was crowned King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions, Emperor of India. Edward was a leader of the London society, known to have spend most of his time partying, hunting, racing, sailing and eating with friends and family before becoming king at 62 years of age.
When in 1900 Edward bought his first car, a Daimler, he was the first royal to own an automobile. Edward purchased seven more of these new fashionate “horseless carriages” in 1905 and he loved driving “topless“ around the English countryside. The king’s new car enthusiasm soon raised the concern of the royal physician as Edward was driving in his cars rain or shine exposing him to the elements. Therefore, in 1903, the royal physician commissioned a Royal Warrant to Berry Bros. & Rudd to create a fortifying and healthy beverage for the monarch’s “driving flask“. This was the birth of “The King’s Ginger,” a brandy-based elixir with ginger, honey, and lemon, designed specifically for His Majesty to stimulate and revivify him during morning car rides.
“The King’s Ginger” liqueur had a zesty touch of ginger with a sweet note that the monarch loved so much that he took his “driving flask” to hunting, and other activities. Some sources claim that a record 1,300 partridge were shot in one day at Sandringham Palace when the King’s Ginger liqueur was first introduced. By 1910 when Edward passed, the royal family and his friends had grown very fond of the King’s Ginger. So, Berry Bros. & Rudd continued to produce The King’s Ginger first exclusively for the royal family: The bottles of the King’s Ginger were all unlabeled, and later sold to the royal family and British aristocracy. It is said that recipe changed slightly over the years and sales averaged about 250 cases annually.
In 2011 a modern version of The King’s Ginger “for the masses” debuted when Berry Bros.& Rudd created and branded a drink called “The King’s Ginger” on a base of neutral grain spirits (instead of expensive brandy), along with ginger, lemon oil, Glenrothes single malt scotch, and sugar.
The King’s Ginger is the only drink in history that was originally created to be consumed while driving an automobile.