The King’s Ginger
A Regal Libation Crafted for Drive and Delight
In 1901, King Edward VII, a vibrant leader of London society, embraced the dawn of a new era by becoming the first royal to own an automobile. His passion for driving in all weather conditions led to the creation of “The King’s Ginger,” a unique liqueur designed to invigorate him during morning car rides.
Designed to fortify the king during his morning car rides, this liqueur, infused with ginger, honey, and lemon, became a cherished companion for Edward and his circle.
The Birth of a Royal Elixir: Crafting “The King’s Ginger” in 1903
In 1901, King Edward VII ascended to the throne of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Ireland, and the British Dominions, also holding the title of Emperor of India. Edward, a prominent figure in London society, was renowned for his lifestyle filled with revelry, hunting, racing, sailing, and convivial meals with friends and family. His reign began at the age of 62.
A noteworthy moment occurred in 1900 when Edward acquired his first automobile, a Daimler, becoming the first royal to possess such a vehicle. Enamored with the novel “horseless carriages,” he expanded his collection to seven more in 1905, embracing open-top drives through the English countryside. However, his penchant for driving in all weather conditions raised concerns from the royal physician, prompting the commissioning of a Royal Warrant in 1903. Berry Bros. & Rudd was tasked with crafting a fortifying beverage for the king’s “driving flask,” resulting in the creation of “The King’s Ginger.” This brandy-based liqueur, infused with ginger, honey, and lemon, aimed to invigorate Edward during his morning car rides.
“The King’s Ginger” liqueur, characterized by a zesty ginger touch and a sweet note, became a favorite of the monarch. Edward carried his “driving flask” not only during car rides but also to hunting and various activities.
From Sandringham to London: The Liqueur’s Royal Reception
Legend has it that a record 1,300 partridges were shot in one day at Sandringham Palace when the liqueur was first introduced. By the time of Edward’s passing in 1910, the royal family and his circle of friends had developed a strong affinity for “The King’s Ginger.” Berry Bros. & Rudd continued its production exclusively for the royal family, selling unlabeled bottles to them and the British aristocracy. Over the years, the recipe underwent slight changes, and annual sales averaged around 250 cases.
A unique historical note is that “The King’s Ginger” holds the distinction of being the only drink originally crafted to be consumed while driving an automobile. The legacy is underscored by the hashtag #DontDrinkAndDrive, emphasizing responsible consumption.
The Distilling Culture
Embark on a global journey, and you’ll find that cultures possess tales that harken back to their ancient beginnings of distillation, brewing, and winemaking.
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