What would happen, we asked,if we took a traditional German “Lebkuchen” and distilled the ingredients into an organic spirit? What is a lebkuchen, you ask? A ginger snap!
But not the mass-market, high-fructose junk at the supermarket. We’re talking a real Pennsylvania Dutch (which actually means Pennsylvania German, not Dutch. Many years ago, someone apparently misheard “deutsch” for “dutch”) ginger snap made with hearty blackstrap molasses and fresh ginger. The kind our mothers, grandmothers, and great-great-great-grandmothers used to make.
“Lebkuchen” was invented by German monks in the 12th century and first appeared in America in the late 1600s when German Anabaptists looking for religious freedom came to Pennsylvania to be part of William Penn’s “Holy Experiment.” Although most people don’t know it, the Pennsylvania Dutch are a diverse and tolerant bunch, encompassing a mix of religions and the non-religious. What they all had in common was a strenuous work ethic and a robust culinary tradition. Because these early Germans were rustic farmers, they baked with hearty blackstrap molasses rather than refined sugar. Back then, this was considered backward and unsophisticated by the “English,” but today we know otherwise.
Blackstrap molasses retains the natural goodness that gets stripped away by the refining process. It also provides a very distinct and earthy flavor.
Of course, the Pennsylvania Dutch didn’t distill a Lebkuchen spirit. That was our idea. But we think it is a delicious one. There are other alcoholic ginger products on the market, but they are either sickly sweet liqueuers or artificially flavored vodkas. This is a sophisticated organic spirit based on authentic folk history designed for people who know how to drink. It’s the kind of genuine experience we wish there was more of in the world. Try it and you will say “nix besser,” which is Pennsylvania Dutch for “none better.“