Ninety years ago, Kentuckian G.L. Wainscott tinkered with several ginger-based recipes until he settled on his favorite carbonated soft drink formula. On July 13, 1926, Ale-8-One was launched into the market, putting Wainscott and his town of Winchester, Ky., on the map for producing a delicious, crisp ginger ale.
Today, Ale-8 is the oldest independent soda company in the United States still owned and operated by the founding family, and it’s the only soft drink invented in Kentucky that is still in existence. It is run by Fielding A. Rogers, a great-great nephew of Wainscott’s who still mixes up the beverage using his family’s hand-written notes.
Most local bartenders prefer Ale-8 to other brands because of its light ginger flavor that tends to complement a drink instead of overpower it. And, it turns out, Ale-8 blends well with just about every spirit in the bar — from bourbon to vodka to Jägermeister (hey, don’t knock it till you try it).
To celebrate Ale-8’s 90th birthday and pay homage to the Kentucky beverage, 11 Louisville bars and restaurants have concocted special cocktails using the soda that’ll be available from Sept. 1-Oct. 31. They all sound delicious, so on your next night out, plan on raising a glass to Ale-8-One … and Kentucky.
• Brasserie Provence — “A Late Flower” with Pinnacle vodka, elderflower liqueur, pink grapefruit juice, peach bitters finished with Ale-8-One, grenadine and a grapefruit twist.
• Butchertown Grocery — “Soft Shock” with Plantation dark rum, chili-lime shrub, Orgeat, Angostura bitters topped with Ale-8-One, Copper & Kings absinthe and a flamed lemon peel garnish.
• Corbett’s Restaurant — “The Acceler8or” with Maker’s Mark bourbon, Domaine de Canton, Tuaca, Ale-8-One soda and Ale-8-One ice cubes.
• Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar — “Kentucky Dreamer” with Jim Beam Honey, Solerno blood orange liqueur, house-made ginger syrup, orange juice and topped with Ale-8-One.
• Equus Restaurant & Jack’s Lounge — “Sunny 8” with Old Forester bourbon, ginger syrup, orange, Peychaud’s bitters and Ale-8-One.
• Feast BBQ — “Ale-8-One Bourbon Slushy” with Heaven Hill Black Label bourbon and Ale-8-One.
• Grind Burger Kitchen — “One in a Melon” with gin, cantaloupe juice, grapefruit juice, simple syrup and Ale-8-One.
• Lilly’s Bistro — “Improved Bourbon & Ginger Ale” with Maker’s Mark bourbon, house-made Ale-8-One syrup, Regan No. 6 orange bitters, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, Copper & Kings absinthe blanche and a flamed orange peel garnish.
• Noosh Nosh — “Ale-8 Kentucky Buck” with Ale-8-One, bourbon, lemon juice, bitters, muddled strawberries and mint.
• Royals Hot Chicken — “Ale-8-One Mojito Slushy” with Bacardi rum, mint simple syrup and lime juice.