Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is the rhizome (underground stem) of the ginger plant, which is related to cardamom, galangal, and turmeric. Ginger is native to southern India, and has been grown there for milennia. Ginger has many uses: its flowers are ornamental, and the rhizome has been used in everything from traditional medicine to condiments (such as pickled ginger, candied ginger or ginger chutney), to being indispensable in curries, soft drinks (like [ingredient=ginger-beer ginger beer] and [ingredient=ginger-ale ginger ale]), and holiday baked goods. 

The ginger rhizome is commonly known as a "hand" due to its gnarled, branching form. The hand is covered in an inedible, pale brown peel that, once removed, reveals a pale yellow, slightly juicy flesh. This flesh is typically grated or minced fine, as the rhizome, especially in older specimens, is fibrous.

Fresh ginger has a wonderfully  warm spicy pungent aroma and flavor with overtones of lemons and flowers. The main constituent chemicals of ginger that are responsible for its flavor are zingerone, shogaol, and gingerol, which have antibacterial effects. Ginger can also be used to reduce nausea. 

In cocktails, ginger can be infused into [ingredient=simple-syrup simple syrups] or [ingredient=ginger-vodka vodka]. Hans Reisetbauer produces a ginger [ingredient=brandy eau de vie], which is staggeringly good, but hard to find and quite expensive (around $100 a half bottle). But it captures the aroma and flavor of fresh ginger perfectly, and is a perfect tonic for a sore throat or cold. 

Some popular cocktails containing Ginger

  • Christmas Caipirinhas — Cacha├ža, Ginger beer, Ice cubes, Lime juice, Sugar, Lime, Mint, Ginger
  • Trans-Pacific — Sotol, Ginger liqueur, Ancho Reyes chile liqueur, Lime juice, Ginger
  • Penicillina — Tequila, Mezcal, Lime juice, Agave syrup, Ginger
  • Gin-Gin Mule — Gin, Simple syrup, Ginger beer, Lime juice, Lime, Ginger, Mint
  • summer with andy — Bourbon, Bitters, Lemon juice, Demerara syrup, Ginger syrup, Ginger
  • Bodhicitta — Coconut rum, Cynar, Egg white, Ginger syrup, Lime juice, Cayenne pepper, Ginger
  • Thai cooler — Vodka, Triple sec, Lime juice, Simple syrup, Ginger, Basil
  • Sailor's Sunset — Dark rum, Campari, Ginger ale, Lime juice, Grapefruit juice, Simple syrup, Ginger
  • Grapefruit-Ginger Bourbon Sour — Bourbon, Grapefruit juice, Lime juice, Simple syrup, Ginger
  • Magpies Cocktail — Bourbon, Herbal liqueur, Bitters, Ginger beer, Lime juice, Basil, Ginger