Full of Ginger (Ale)
Fun or crazy? Making your own ginger ale, that is. I vote for fun. But some may disagree, and as my West Virginia relatives are apt to remark, "you're just full of ginger!"; translate as, you are just so energetic, that you are really making us tired. But this is so easy, anyone can make this with almost no effort at all.
I love making things that are usually store bought, because they almost always taste better, and, just because it's fun to try new things
As I was making dinner and watching football (Giants vs. Eagles) last Sunday night - lasagna with a light bechamel sauce (saves calories by not using ricotta) - I mentioned to daughter Kate that I was interested in trying the recipe for homemade Ginger Ale from the new issue of Bon Appetit (October 2012, page 66).
Kate promptly said ok, I'll make it, we've got ginger in the freezer. Did you know you could store fresh ginger in the freezer for months and it keeps really well? Just pop it in a baggie as is, skin and all, and it will be at the ready for all your ginger-requiring-recipes.
In 15 minutes she had concocted the ginger syrup, and we were enjoying bright and sparking homemade ginger ale. Do try it, it really is better than bottled, and you can (literally) be full of ginger too, but in a good way.
(If you think you'll like it, double the recipe as this recipe only makes 4 tall glasses of soda. If you do have any extra syrup, it can be refrigerated and stored for up to 2 months.)
Ginger Ale adapted from Bon Appetit
1/2 cup honey or 1/2 cup granulated sugar (I prefer the sugar version!)
1/2 cup sliced, peeled fresh ginger (Note: Peel ginger with the back of a teaspoon, it gets into all the nooks and crannies really well, without slicing away a lot of the good parts. If the ginger is frozen, it will be more difficult, but not impossible to slice - be careful!)
1/2 cup water
Bottle or two of seltzer water
Combine all ingredients except the seltzer, in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain through a sieve and let cool slightly. Add 2 tablespoons of the ginger syrup to about 8 ounces seltzer water, or to taste, over ice, and stir. Makes 4 to 8 servings.
Bonus: the leftover strained candied ginger is delicious eaten as is for dessert, or served over vanilla ice cream.
Last Christmas we got a Soda Stream machine, and I have to report it does turn out outstandingly fresh tasting and lively seltzer, which is perfect for this recipe.
Bon Appetit, as well as many other magazines worthy of your attention, are available in our Library every day. Come in and read, and/or take out a few.