Ginger Ale, like many sodas, started life in the drugstores of early 20th century America. And unlike the artificially flavoured concoctions often sold as ginger ale today the original didn’t just pack a flavour punch, it also contained all the medicinal properties that ginger is justly famous for.
Thankfully, making your own ginger ale is really, really easy and the end result is one of the most refreshing sodas you’ll ever encounter. For three one liter bottles of ginger syrup – you’ll dilute it about 1:5 – you need:
3 one litre glass bottles with a cap. Clean, then sterilize in an oven set to 200ºF for 30 minutes.
1 kg of ginger, peeled
500 gr of dark brown sugar. We use Redpath Demerara.
The juice of six to eight large lemons.
The peel of one lemon, yellow bit only.
3 litres of water.
Grate or chop your ginger. If you have a food processor, process until chopped but not mushy.
Combine water, sugar, lemon juice and peel and ginger in a large pan. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
Skim off any foam that forms and let simmer gently for 30 minutes.
Line a colander with cheesecloth and decant into a large bowl. Fill into your bottles while still piping hot and close. Let cool down. We keep our bottles in the basement. They should theoretically last for at least a couple of months, but especially during summer the ale is so popular we’re making a new batch every two weeks, sometimes more often.
To serve, dilute to taste with sparkling or still water over ice.