For over a century now, Blenheim Ginger Ale has been a powerful cure for everything from an unquenchable thirst to a bad hangover. The mineral springs located in Blenheim, South Carolina have been renowned for their soothing effect on upset stomachs since the 1800’s. To tame the strong taste of the spring water, a local doctor added Jamaican ginger root to the water as a flavor enhancer and as a healing boost. This heady potion would go on to become the Blenheim Ginger Ale we all know and love today.
My first encounter with ginger’s healing properties came over 15 years ago. I worked at a Chinese restaurant in college, and anytime I felt a bit under the weather, nauseous or hung-over Mrs. Wang would come to my rescue with her special ginger soup. It was a mix of sugar, water, broth and plenty of ginger slices boiled together for a bit. She explained to me that ginger had been used for thousands of years in Chinese herbal medicine as a treatment for stomach ailments. The earliest written record of use in Chinese medicine came more than 2000 years ago. The Chinese certainly had it figured out a while ago. That warm, spicy soup would always bring me back to life and have me feeling right in no time.
Many Moms and Grandmothers in the South have known for generations about ginger and ginger ale’s ability to calm an upset stomach. Now modern research has shown Dr. Mom had the right prescription all along. Studies have shown ginger to be an effective way to prevent seasickness and motion sickness. The popular “Mythbusters” TV show on the Discovery Channel did an episode about home remedies, and confirmed that a ginger pill would cure seasickness without the drowsy side-effects of drugs. A different study found that ginger would solve the terrible “morning sickness” that many pregnant women experience. There have even been some studies that suggest ginger may ease the symptoms of chronic arthritis.
You must admit Mom sure knew what she was talking about when she handed you a Blenheim Ginger Ale. She recognized its blazing ginger heat and zesty taste would relieve the grumbling and rumbling in your belly, and tickle your taste buds at the same time. So always keep plenty of Good Ole Blenheim Ginger Ale on hand during this cold nasty winter season to warm you up, ward off those evil colds, and keep your tummy happy.
Sips; A Southern Ginger Ale With Sting in Its Tail
By WILLIAM GRIMES
Published: Wednesday, February 25, 1998
THE first swallow brings on a four-sneeze fit. The second one clears out the sinuses and leaves the tongue and throat throbbing with prickly heat. John T. Edge, a food scholar with the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi,has compared it to ”a slap in the face from a spurned lover.” Blenheim Ginger Ale, the sweet-hot pride of South Carolina, pulls no punches, and its feisty approach has propelled it from modest regional fame to cult status.
The beverage was created in the 1890′s by a doctor named May in Blenheim, S.C., who added Jamaica ginger and sugar to the local spring water and dispensed it as a tonic for dyspepsia. In 1903, Dr. May and a partner created the Blenheim Bottling Company, which chugged along until 1993, when it was acquired by the company that owns the South of the Border amusement complex. In addition to moving the bottling plant to the amusement park, the new owners developed a milder formula, known as No. 5, which is a shade lighter than the original and has a brass-colored bottle cap rather than a raspberry one.
Pour Blenheim’s over ice, which helps cut the sweetness, or use it to kick-start a couple of cocktails. Mixed with Gosling’s Black Seal rum and a wedge of lime, it makes a wicked Dark and Stormy, and just a few ounces of Blenheim’s does wonders for a cheap bourbon. WILLIAM GRIMES