This is probably my most used home brewing recipe, and the simplest. It’s an easy soda, refreshing on it’s own or tasty mixed with gin or vodka. I love to make a large batch before parties, everyone loves it and it costs less than even the cheapest generic sodas. The major plus here is once you have the basic recipe down it’s not too hard to make tweaks and changes to suite your personal preferences. This ginger ale is entirely different from most American brands (i.e. Vernors, Canada Dry), in that it’s flavor comes directly from fresh ginger root which is spicy and refreshing. The carbonation comes from a minor act of fermentation by bakers yeast as it ‘eats’ the sugar in the drink, creating carbon dioxide (fizz!). This is the same reaction used to make alcoholic drinks, just on a shorter and smaller scale (in this case the amount of alcoholic content is negligible, around half a percent).
To make a 2 liter bottle of Ginger Ale you will need:
- A cleaned out 2 liter plastic soda bottle with screw-on cap.
- A fine grater or zester.
- A funnel.
- A 1 cup measuring cup.
- A 1/4 cup measuring cup.
- A 1 tbsp. measuring spoon.
- A 1/4 tsp. measuring spoon.
- 1 cup sugar (raw or cane is fine)
- A chunk of fresh ginger root.
- Bottled lemon juice or 1 medium lemon.
- Active baker’s yeast.
To make the ale first combine the dry ingredients inside the 2 liter using the funnel; 1 cup sugar and 1/4 tsp. yeast. Next grate the ginger until you have at least 2 tbsp., depending on how flavorful and spicy you want your drink to be, you could use up to 4 tbsp. Pour the ginger and then the lemon juice (1/4 cup of the bottle stuff or the juice of 1 fresh lemon) into the bottle as well. Then fill the bottle the rest of the way up with lukewarm water within one inch of the top, using the water to rinse any remaining ingredients from the sides of the funnel into the bottle. Cap and shake gently until all of the sugar is dissolved. Find a warm place to stash the bottle, I think the top of kitchen cabinet is a good place and let the bottle sit for 1-2 full days checking periodically to see how firm the bottle feels. Once the bottle no longer gives at all when you squeeze it’s ready! Move the bottle to the fridge (this will stop the fermentation process) and wait until the ale is chilled to serve. If you don’t like chunks of ginger in your drink wrap a piece of cheesecloth over the neck of your bottle when you pour. The chunks will mostly settle to the bottom of the drink anyways.
I love adding extra flavoring to my ginger ale by making my soda with an herbal tea instead of water. My favorite flavors are hibiscus, lavender, or peppermint but there are many other options as well (pretty much any edible herb you’d like!) I make the tea ahead of time, using boiling water and dried herbs to taste making sure it’s cool to touch before add it to my other soda ingredients (if it’s too hot it will kill the yeast!) The hibiscus is especially nice because it gives the soda a striking magenta color. Consider making a number of smaller bottles of ginger ales with different flavorings, experiment with different colorful and medicinal herbs.
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