When I was younger, I never understood why people enjoyed ginger ale. I thought it had a funky taste and I didn’t appreciate the overly-enthusiastic way the bubbles behaved in a glass. I thought it was something only old men and my aunt from Texas drank.
Until I discovered a brand sweetened with organic cane sugar. It had a completely different mild taste, and the bubbles didn’t seem to be so annoyingly hyperactive. The downside to this natural brand was, of course, the unfortunately high price.
I think you know where I’m going with this one – straight down the DIY highway, baby! We like to make our own stuff so we can save money, personalize recipes, and build self-sufficiency. Making my own ginger ale allows me to save boatloads of money, flavor it just the way I like it, and learn a fun new skill.
This homemade ginger ale contains no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors like store-bought brands. You can play around with the ingredients to make it more citrus-y or more ginger-y, whatever floats your boat! For someone who doesn’t like ginger all that much, I think this ginger ale is just about perfect.
You begin by making a ginger syrup, which can be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks. Just add the syrup to chilled sparkling water or club soda when you’re thirsting for fresh ginger ale. It’s easy peasy, lemon squeezy!
Natural Ginger Ale
- 1½ organic lemons
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh ginger (I peel mine before chopping)
- 1¼ cups organic cane sugar (find it here)
- 2½ cups filtered water (find the best purification systems here)
- natural, unflavored seltzer water or club soda (make your own with one of these gadgets)
Make ginger syrup
Juice lemons, reserving one thick slice from the middle. Add lemon juice, lemon slice, chopped ginger, sugar, and water to a pot. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, then decrease heat to a simmer. Simmer gently for 15 minutes. Using a strainer or cheesecloth to catch solids, pour liquid mixture into a large glass measuring cup. (Compost solids or save ginger for other uses.) Make note of the amount of liquid you have. Return liquid to pot and continue simmering for 20-25 minutes, or until liquid has been reduced by half. Allow syrup to cool and transfer to a glass jar with a lid. Refrigerate until ready to mix drinks.
Add about 2 tablespoons of syrup (to taste) to 1 cup of seltzer water or club soda and stir gently. Add ice, if desired, and enjoy immediately!
Notes from the kitchen
Don’t hesitate to play around with the ingredients a little to make a ginger ale that suits your tastebuds. Here are some suggestions:
- Ginger can give a spicy kick to things, so if you’re not a fan of extremely ginger-y things you can try using less fresh ginger (or just use less syrup when making your glass of soda).
- Add a little pure vanilla extract to the finished syrup to enhance the aromatic character of your soda.
- We have not tried using other sweeteners in this recipe, but you could certainly give it a shot!
- Add more lemon juice if you prefer more citrus and less ginger flavor.