The New York Times published this article a few months ago about a new trend of artisanal ginger ales gaining popularity around the country. Intrigued, I tore it out and saved it - forgot about it - then found it once again. And today, I made it, and.... it was great! Ginger ale has been around for ages, as a home remedy for aching stomachs and nausea. It's zippy bite can quench almost any degree of thirst.
To make one 16 oz drink for myself, I ventured down two different gingery paths - first by hand grating ginger root against a micro-plane and then squeezed the juice from the pulp. The flavor, once everything was added, stirred and poured, was weak. (Not to mention it's kind of a royal pain!).
My second attempt, suggested by the article, was to make a ginger syrup. (I have recently discovered the beauty of making different syrups and keeping them on hand for quick and easy use. See my post on making rose water syrup for other types of delicious drinks).
I found that this way makes a better, more authentic ginger ale. The gentle heating of sugar and ginger juice deepens the flavors, the end result being zingy, spicy and slightly syrupy. Keep ginger syrup in fridge and it's ready for your next craving of that certain zippy fizz we all have every now and then.
Note: You will need a juicer in order to extract large amounts of juice from the ginger root. If you don't have one, a health food store with a juice bar can sell you fresh squeezed ginger juice. Be sure to ask them to run water through the juicer before starting on your order, otherwise you will get muddled ginger juice.
Adapted from The New York Times.
Makes 1 (16 oz.) drink
4 tsp fresh ginger juice (see note)
1-2 TBLS sugar
2 TBLS fresh lime juice
1 1/4 cup club soda
Stir ginger juice, sugar and lime juice until sugar dissolves. Add ice and club soda.
Make a ginger syrup by dissolving 3/4 cup sugar into 1 cup ginger juice. I did this combining the two ingredients and heating just until a simmer, then shut off the heat, and stir often, until sugar is dissolved, cool completely. Add ice, lime juice and club soda to 2 TBLS syrup just before serving. Bottoms up!