I have always loved ginger ale. My grandfather introduced me to the beverage when I was a kid. He always had cans and cans of Canada Dry in the fridge, and one of my favorite things to do was to share one with him. Of course, at the time, I had no idea what ginger even was. But there was something about that crisp, refreshing taste that pleased me. To this day, everytime I fly, I order a ginger ale.
As I’ve grown older, ginger has become one of my go-to spices. I love to use it to add a bit of bite to a spicy dish, let it bring out the best in my chicken when paired with honey and soy sauce or even steeped in orange juice and mixed into a cheesecake. I’ve gotten into the habit of buying fresh ginger every week, and the possibilities are endless.
I don’t know how it happened, but last week I came across a recipe for home-made ginger ale on the internet, and I knew I would be making it ASAP. The best part? All I needed were bottles (check), ginger (check), sugar (check), lemon juice (check) and bakers or champagne yeast (not check). A quick stop off at the supermarket and I was ready to go.
From what I gather, I think the final version of this ale does have a very slight alcohol content, due to the fermentation process. I also read that by leaving the bottles out longer, the content would steadily rise… Something that Jérôme seemed tempted to try, but we’ll save that for another day.
Fresh, fizzy ginger ale
1 3-inch piece of ginger, finely grated (juices reserved as much as possible)
1/4 C sugar (or sweetener with 2-3 T of real sugar)
1/4 t Bakers or champagne yeast (I used bakers)
Plastic or glass bottles
This was so easy, and fun! Kind of excited to see the simple chemical reaction that transforms still water to a carbonated drink happening at home.
Start with a clean plastic or glass bottle and a funnel. Measure out your sugar (I used sweetener and sugar), and add it to the bottle. Next, add your yeast. Shake the bottle gently to mix the two together as best you can. In a glass or beaker, mix your grated ginger and all the juices with the juice of one lemon. Stir it up a bit, and add it to the bottles using the funnel. That’s basically it!
Now fill the glass you had the ginger in with cold water, making sure to get all the little bits of ginger that are hiding in there. Add this water to the bottle, and close it up. Now you should gently tip the bottle upside down and right-side up, several times, until most all of the sugar has disolved into the water and juices. Once this is done, fill the bottle almost all the way full, leaving about an inch from the very top. Seal well, and place in a warm place for 48 hours!
After 48 hours, you’ll need to refrigerate your ginger ale. This also stops the fermentation process. Let it cool before opening it, very carefully, little by little, letting the massive carbonation that has accumulated on the inside, out. Once you’re able to actually open the bottle (without closing it right away to prevent a ginger fountain!), you should do a taste test, and adjust sugar levels as needed.
Let it chill completely, and enjoy! Mine has been in the fridge for about three days now, and still has some fizz, but I don’t think this will keep too long. I’d say one week maximum.
*If you want a cocktail, add a shot of high quality white rum to a glass, fill with ginger ale and top with a lemon wedge!