I’m a big fan of cooking shows, especially competitions that allow me to judge how contestants create recipes on the fly. Of course, I can comfortably be a fan because I know better than to compete. Every so often, I’ll have an inspiration, but mostly, I trust the pros to come up with clever food twists and taste hacks.
So, when I heard about Jin+Ja, I figured, yes, I like fresh tasting drinks, and I never mind an afternoon pick-me-up. Even more than those things, I love a random taste test with the rest of the WWT crew. (We did that, and good times were had). I didn’t expect that this little drink would be quite so flexible — I’m talking mixer duty for cocktails, but also as a factor in actual recipes.
But before we get into the more ambitious culinary applications of Jin+Ja, let’s talk about the actual beverage. We sampled both flavors of the product, Original and Dragon Fruit. And we hit both solo, on the rocks, as it seemed the best baseline for a taste assessment.
The OG Jin+Ja is a crisp, slowly spicy little drink that hits you first with ginger — our major takeaway at the end was that we could actually do with more ginger — that followed by the understated base of green tea and subtle hints of lemon. Ultimately, it builds a steady head of surprising heat from the scene stealing supporting player, cayenne. The experience with the Dragon Fruit blend played out quite similarly. The addition of dragon fruit introduced a few tangy notes (in lieu of those supplied by the lemon in the original blend), but by the end of our experience those flavors also faded under the greater power of the cayenne.
Jin + Ja is billed as a product that can give an energy boost and have a positive impact on digestive health. Our short foray doesn’t really give us enough data to comment on that authoritatively, particularly the latter, but it’s worth noting that the fresh burst of ginger and the slowly creeping heat do act as a sort of wake up against that late afternoon malaise.
Ultimately, we think Jin+Ja’s greatest potential lies in teaming up with other flavors, whether as a cocktail mixer or an ingredient in a meal or appetizer. All of the flavors in both versions of the drink play well together — but all are subtle enough that they could be particularly effective as an accent against more broad notes.
If you’re like me and would rather forge a pre-determined food path than play inventor when taking a dish to a barbecue, the folks at Jin+Ja have your back. There’s an entire library of food and drink recipes available on their site. For our part, we’d like to get our hands on the Jin+Ja Rogers — a kicky cocktail that blends wine and gin and won our attention with some solid pun action — and the Jin+Ja Style Beef Brisket. We can’t help but to share a glamor shot of the beef, because it looks glorious.
If you need some inspiration for any of those backyard barbecues that pop-up around this time of year, grab a bottle of Jin+Ja and bring some ginger zing to the table.