Rochester packs a punch. … it kicks like two angry mules – and indeed it does. Launched to much acclaim at the Good Food & Wine Show recently, Rochester Ginger is apparently made from a Dickensian recipe that harks back to the 1870s. The ingredients include pressed ginger root, elderflower, cowslip and raisins (great for the immune system) and can be served in a variety of ways – neat or diluted, or added to your tea. And if that doesn’t knock you about enough, then try its sister, the very delicious Rochester Organic Mulled Berry Punch. Full of winter spice, it’s perfect as a hot toddy before popping off to bed. Both are non-alcoholic.

Rochester’s Mulled Berry Punch… with cool spring nights ahead, this non-alcoholic mulled punch is a lovely way to warm up from the inside out. Heated up with red wine, Rochester’s latest drink is delicious – just warm for a minute or two on the stove until piping hot. But don’t expect Rochester’s trademark kick-you-in-the-back-of-the-mouth hit you get from its ginger drinks, this is more subtle. Elderberry lifts it to the right amount of sweetness.

Ginger drink packs a powerful punch. Rob & Belinda Mikecz felt there was a gap in the Australian market for a non-alcoholic drink with punch. In England they found Rochester Ginger. Made with 14% ginger root with elderflower, cowslip and raisins, the recipe has been passed down through three generations. Many who try it for the first time think it’s alcoholic. A smoother version is Rochester Dark Ginger, an old Jamaican recipe made with lemon and caramelised sugar. The drinks can be used in mixers, tea, cocktails and to marinade fruit.

Dickensian but in a good way. Like piping-hot porridge or an old wooly jumper, mulled fruit and spices speak of wintry goodness. Rochester Mulled Organic Berry Punch is from the best of European tradition but there’s not a whiff of dry red in this brew. Instead, the ground whole spices are blended with elderberry, blackcurrant, apple and orange. Also available is Rochester Ginger – a throat-burning, head-clearing concoction that tastes as good neat or on the rocks as it does blended into juice or a cocktail. The berry punch is similarly versatile; warm it on the stove with slices of orange, or splash into a mulled wine for a tipple.

Those who enjoy a drink with a sharp kick but not any associated pain in the head could do far worse than grab a glass of non-alcoholic Rochester Ginger, which contains 14% raw ginger root, along with herbs cowslip and elderflower, and raisin – that’s the highest ginger root content you can get, and it’s true that all that ginger spice builds a fire in the throat when sipped neat that’s as potent as any good scotch. If that proves too intense it goes nicely on ice or mixed with sparkling mineral water, a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint.

Alan Jones


DRINK WITH KICK. A ginger drink recipe dating back to the 1870s delivering ‘the kick of two very angry mules’. The non-alcoholic Rochester Ginger contains 14% raw ginger root, crushed with elderflower, cowslip and raisins. It has a bigger spicy zing than ginger beer and works well with soda or fruit juice. This Dickensian drink also tastes amazing as a marinade for strawberries, stone fruit, or over ice cream.