Given Santa Barbara is lallygagging through a grayest of Mays (yeah, I know, we suffer so here in mostly paradise), it's time to figure out ways to force feed ourselves some sunshine. No big surprise that one of my favorite ways to do so is with the help of a potent potable. Of course, even potent potables need helpers, too.
Enter Uncle Waithley's, a newish brand of ginger beer. Not to bore you with what you know, but ginger beer: 1) isn't alcohol, despite the "beer" part; 2) is much zippier than the more common ginger ale, as the ginger and sugar gets fermented together, while ginger ale tends to be a soda product with ginger flavoring added later in the process.
Uncle Waithley's take all of that very seriously, with a product that begs for marketing historical spinning. As they put it, "A family recipe developed by mixologist Karl Franz Williams and inspired by his grandfather, Uncle Waithley, who lived his entire life on the enchanting island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines." Ah, lineage and the allure of the Caribbean.
The better news is it's not just a good story. This is punchy stuff, mostly because it has a couple of unusual kinks. First, it's got turmeric, and if you use that at home, you probably have something stained vivid yellow-orange you didn't want stained. Here, it gives the beverage a enticing hue, and some of the earthy spice you've grown to know and love in curries.
But there's more spice, too, as Uncle Waithley's also features Scotch bonnet peppers for a real kick. Not every carbonated beverage can get rated in Scoville units. To be fair, it's more heat than hot, but it also is a refreshing surprise than requires you to keep quenching your thirst.
Given that pepper-push, in the photo above you see two Mexican Mules, a variation of the more standard Moscow Mule that swaps in tequila for vodka. Chill those copper mugs (or a rocks glass if you aren't that fancy), crush a bunch of ice, pour 2 oz. of tequila per cup, add a good amount of ice in each, top with Uncle Waithley's (you hope for a 3-2 ratio of ginger beer to booze, but don't sweat it--the cup will do that for you). Add 1/2 oz. of lime juice to each, and also a wedge of lime for more squeezing.
Truly delish. Can't imagine how good it will be if the temperature ever breaks 67° here. (And yes, they sent me free samples.)