Although Elixir G's inventor is promoting his smooth mix of pressed ginger root, lemon juice and cane sugar as a cocktail enhancer, the liquid might be more useful after a drinking session.
Bill Tocantins of Santa Monica sent me a bottle of Elixir G because the product was just picked up by Metropolitan Market. While I don't typically fuss with the samples sent my way, the bottle was on my desk after a weekend during which I had two out-of-town guests - and lots of whiskey to celebrate their visits. Remembering the candied ginger that was my companion for a painful month-long schooner voyage during which my seasickness never improved, I wondered if a swig of Elixir G could soothe my hangover symptoms. While the results didn't send me scrambling for my sextant, I felt much, much better post-quaff.
Of course, I'm not qualified to make medical claims. But Tocantins says he's heard of other imbibers busting out Elixir G in the morning.
"They use it for ginger tea," he says.
Tocantins would rather use his heady ginger mix for cosmos and improvised ginger beer. "The main use is for cocktails," he says. "I'm trying to zoom in on which is most popular."
The mix was first concocted by Indian restaurant owners who lost their lease. When they moved to a new location, they inherited a liquor license and asked Tocantins to devise cocktails for the bar. He used a soda syrup they'd developed to flavor a ginger margarita.
"People went wow," he recalls. "A couple of people actually got out of their seats. I'd never seen that with a Merlot or a vodka tonic."
The restaurant owners weren't interested in marketing the mix, so "the greatest ginger adventure was born," Tocantins says.
Elixir G is made with Hawaiian ginger, which is cleaner than what comes from China, cheaper than what comes from India, and more consistent than ginger from Brazil. It was introduced three years ago in Los Angeles bars, and recently released for retail sale. Tocantins says the mix sold out when he sampled it at Met Market, which he hopes is the first of many groceries to carry Elixir G.
"Getting distributors interested in a new product is like Columbus telling people the world is round," he says.
My free advice is to play the hangover recovery card. But my suggestion isn't very creative compared to what other Elixir G fans have apparently dreamed up. According to a release, "a woman in Mammoth likes to scoop snow into a coffee cup, add Elixir G to it, and then sit in her hot tub."