How to Make Homemade Ginger Ale

I am what I eat, figuratively, at least since I both self-identify as a Ginger and I adore all things ginger-flavored. I sprinkle ground ginger in my tea, order anything vaguely laced with the spice on Asian menus, and once even took two large bites off a piece of the root itself. (My stomach hurt terribly and I was desperate. It helped, actually.)

My husband and I have been scheming for years to make and sell our own ginger beer (angel investors, where are you?), and recently I've been trying out recipes for homemade ginger ale in between working furiously on the ol' dissertation.

Making your own ginger ale can be shockingly simple and alarmingly complicated. The Internet holds a good number of recipes ranging in difficulty; I found success with a formula that was slightly more involved than one might find in a cookbook directed at three-year-olds.

A big shout-out to SeasonWithSpice for not only providing cute pictures and instructions a brain-fried ABD grad student could follow but also figuring out an easy formula for a spicy ginger ale. Yes, if I wanted something over-sweetened and vaguely laced with ginger, I would pick up some Canada Dry, thank you very much. I like a ginger brew about which the indefatigable Ralph Wiggum would say, "Tastes like burning."

Two notes on SeasonWithSpice's recipe:

  • Dark brown palm was not to be found in my household, so I actually used about a teaspoon of molasses, which worked just fine.
  • SWS's chefs do not specify how much ginger syrup to add to your soda water. You have to experiment a bit to find the perfect ratio for your tastes, but I would suggest starting with about four ounces of soda water and gradually adding syrup in 1/2-teaspoon increments.

Or, if you're feeling more like, "Don't give a hoot, just want it to burn my tongue off," throw caution into the wind and start with three ounces of syrup, add a splash of water and go from there.

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Joanna O'Leary