Soda was reserved for the stomach flu and special occasions like your birthday in our house while we were growing up. I’m glad for this now, but, man, was I ever jealous of the soda-drinking households! The only soda we had in the house was ginger ale for stomach bugs and for the occasional ‘cranberry spritz’ drink concocted of… you guessed it, cranberry juice and a splash of ginger ale. I don’t have the stomach for soda; it’s far too sweet for me, but if I do go for a soda, it is ginger ale. News flash! Ginger ale is NOT served where I am located in the Midwest! What!? That means, no Crown and Ginger at the bowling alley, no Shirley Temple’s and I can’t even stop at a convenience store and get a small bottle and most recently, the huge gas station that even plays music, doesn’t carry ANY ginger ale. Sigh. I bet this is easily made with a Soda Stream as well, but I don't have one of those, so we will make it happen one way or another!
So, as my little subtitle says, I decided to ‘make it happen’ and learned how to make my own. While it still has a ton of sugar in it, you can better control it by adding less and adding more ginger to get a stronger flavor. It’s so easy, I just stopped crying about it and started making my own when I felt like drinking ginger ale. It’s my belief that if you put the effort into making something instead of buying it, you appreciate it more and don’t over-do your consumption. Would you spend six hours on baking bread and eat it in under 30 minutes when it came out of the oven? Yea, me too, so I guess that was a bad example.
I’ve broken it down into two recipes: the first one is the closest to the stuff in the store, and the second tastes a bit different but has a nice ginger kick and less sugar.
Here is what you will need:
Tastes like the stuff in the store:
- 1 Cup water
1 Cup sugar
½ - ¾ inches of fresh peeled ginger
Enough club soda to fill the rest of a 17oz decanter
Tastes more like ginger and less sugar:
- 1 Cup water
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 - 2 ½ inches of fresh peeled ginger
- Enough club soda to fill the rest of a 17oz decanter
Here is what you do:
Cut the peeled ginger up into very thin slices; not quite see through, but just about there.
Mix the sugar and water and put in a pan with the ginger.
Heat up on medium – low heat constantly stirring to make sure it is all getting mixed in together.
You will notice that the mixture begins to turn into a syrup consistency within 10-15 minutes. It will be clear and you won’t see any sugar granulates. DO NOT LET IT BOIL! Congratulations, you just made a ginger infused simple syrup!
Take the ginger out of the syrup and set aside on a plate, spaced out and not touching. This will turn into ginger candy once it dries and hardens up a bit. If you want to be crazy, go ahead and add some sugar granulates to the outside for a little sweet bling. Put the remaining simple syrup into the fridge for about an hour to cool down. I happened to leave some of the ginger in the mixture because I love how it gets a much stronger ginger flavor as it sits in the fridge.
Take the ginger simple syrup our of the fridge, and pour it into your decanter; mine happens to be 17oz and has its own snap lid.
Add the club soda, just fast enough to get the bubbles going, but no so fast that it blows up on you.
Snap the top and GENTLY tip it just enough to let the syrup mesh through the club soda.
Pour and enjoy!