The first time I made ginger ale was with locally grown Harmony Valley Farm fresh ginger. I was so excited when it arrived, but then it dawned on me: I should grow my own! Now I’m doing just that! Although I use fresh ginger, the slightly cured ginger that’s available all year works just as well. All you need is to find a nice chunk of ginger that has thin skin and little yellowy growth knobs. Stick that in a pot of dirt, keep it moist and warm, and BAM! You are growing ginger!
This recipe is a simple and cheap way to satisfy your thirst for refreshingly spicy soda. It’s a great treat for kids. Let it sit a little longer and it’s a great way to impress your friends at the next cocktail party (if you can keep your hands off it long enough). I, and many others, can’t drink regular soda, due to the sugar quantity and chemicals. That’s the beauty of this recipe: you know exactly what you’re getting: a scrumptious, do-it-yourself, summer recipe in a bottle!
HOMEMADE GINGER ALE
Yields 8-10 cups
• Finely grate or mince ginger.
• In medium saucepan, combine ginger, sugar & 1 cup water.
• Let simmer over medium heat for a few minutes until sugar totally dissolves.
• Remove from heat & strain into bowl. Put bowl in freezer or over ice to cool syrup to room temp.
• Pour syrup into jar. Add 6-8 cups of water (to taste).
• Add lemon juice (use more than recipe calls for if you want stronger citrus flavor).
• Add yeast & stir.
Put lid on jar & store in dark cabinet or pantry.
• Let sit for minimum 12 hours. The longer it sits, the bubblier it gets & eventually more alcoholic. If you plan on fermenting for longer than 48 hours, use a “kraut cap” of some kind that releases excess CO2, or you’ll likely end up with an explosive mess!
• After fermentation, simply store in refrigerator. Since this is a fermented drink, continue opening the bottle a minimum of 2 times daily to release pressure.
• Serve over ice with a tiny umbrella & enjoy.
Sampling Assistant and Front End Staff, Laura Poe, has yet another way to start making your own homemade soda.
You can ferment your own ginger ale by using a starter, called a “ginger bug,” which is made with fresh ginger and unrefined sugar. You can naturally ferment and carbonate your ginger ale without using a commercial yeast. This method adds beneficial bacteria and enzymes to your brew, making it just as delicious as it is healthy! For more information on growing a ginger bug and making probiotic ginger brew at home, check out Laura’s beautiful blog post, along with many other blog posts related to health that starts from the inside-out.