Thursday, April 19, 2012

Homemade Ginger-ale

You may not know this about me, but I am not a big pop fan. Check that. I love the taste of pop, but I don't like the affects of pop, and so I don't indulge very often. I get headaches and dry mouth from it, and I'm always so very aware of the sugar content whenever I take a sip, that it really ruins the experience for me. But if I AM going to indulge in some pop, it's going to be some really good root beer, but better yet, ginger-ale. Nothing beats are really good can of ginger-ale. I don't know if it's because my dad likes it so much and so that was the most common pop in our house (not that pop was common), or what, but I love it. My dad always pours himself a glass, and then takes a fork and stirs it, to get rid of the majority of the carbonation. But I like to savour the stinging, biting sensation of the carbonation on my tongue and the back of my throat. Mixed with the spicy ginger's just awesome.

My sous-chef came home from a business trip one day and said, "I just had the most amazing drink ever. Homemade ginger-ale. It was WAY better than the bottled stuff." He likes to indulge my ginger-ale senses.

So, I set about trying to replicate this 'amazing' drink. I decided his birthday was a good day to attempt it. Although, I'm not sure why I would try a new recipe on such a big day...when we had company over. But I didn't think about those details until after. I made the simple ginger syrup the night before and mixed up the drinks in time for our BBQ dinner (it was exceptionally warm here in March - probably the first time that we've sat on the patio in shorts, having a BBQ on March 20th!). There was only one problem with the drinks...I didn't make enough. There was just enough syrup to make one cup for each adult guest, and it just left us teased and wanting more! I guess that's the measure of a good recipe!

So here are the seats:

Ingredients 2 cups (about 10 ounces) coarsely chopped peeled fresh ginger. (we're talking about two BIG roots at the grocery store)
3 strips lemon peel (about 4 inches each), yellow part only
1 1/2 cups of sugar
4 cups water
3 quarts chilled club soda
ice cubes
lemon slices

Directions: Place ginger, lemon peel and water in a 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer at a low boil, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.

Add sugar, stirring constantly, and continue to boil until reduced to about 3 cups, another 15 minutes. 

Place a fine wire strainer over a large bowl. Pour in ginger mixture to separate solids from liquid. Discard the lemon peel and ginger (or save ginger to be used on ice-cream or yogurt).

Cool the syrup, pour into a glass container, seal tightly and chill for at least 1 hour until cold or up to 1 week. 

For each 16-oz serving, mix 1/4 cup ginger syrup with 1 cup cold club soda and pour over ice. Garnish cup with lemon slice. I like it with the lemon slice IN the ginger ale.

Tastes like summer!