April 14, 2011

Recipe 10 - Ginger Ale / Ginger Beer

This is a very easy brew, and a pleasure to make a beverage completely from raw ingredients. I'm not a fanatic about the health benefits of using natural ingredients nor am I at all concerned about knowing exactly what's in my food. I know some people are, so I won't bash those two schools of thought. I just really enjoy making things completely from scratch.

For the syrup:
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup white sugar
juice and zest from 1 lemon
ginger root roughly the size of your thumb.
2 cups water

Grate the ginger root and lemon zest into a saucepan in 1 cup of water. Simmer covered for 20 minutes and allow to steep while cooling for another 20 minutes. Strain this mixture to remove the pulp, then filter through a coffee filter. Replace the pulp in the sauce pan and repeat with the second cup of water. This is not extremely necessary, but I feel like I get the most flavor out of the mash this way. I could be crazy, though.
Add your ~2 cups of filtered liquid to the white and brown sugar in a clean saucepan. Bring this to a simmer to dissolve the sugar and add the lemon juice.
This amount of syrup is meant for 3 gallons of beverage, so add carbonated water accordingly.

Ginger Beer vs. Ginger Ale
While most are familiar with ginger ale, there conflicting opinions on what exactly ginger beer is. Jamaican style ginger beer is a soft drink similar to ginger ale, but very spicy with some strong ginger. English ginger beer is an alcoholic drink home brewed from a ginger beer plant, which is a combination of certain strains of yeast and bacteria, skimmed off from the drink and saved for subsequent batches. There's a company in the UK that will sell you a portion of ginger beer plant if that's what you want to do.
This recipe, as presented, is spicier, with more citrus notes and less sweet than a typical ginger ale, but milder than a Jamaican ginger beer. In my opinion, this is easily adjusted by the amount of ginger you add, less for ginger ale, and more for ginger beer.

8 comments:

  1. I'm so glad I found your blog!! My hubby and brother in law are homebrewers who have been wanting to make homemade sodas as well. Your blog is the perfect place to find some awesome recipes! I can't wait to try this ginger beer, it sounds divine :)

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  2. Andrea,
    Thanks, I hope you enjoy it, feel free to make modifications as you see fit!

    Vincent,
    Thanks for the invite.

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  3. I made your recipe but when I add the syrup to my carbonated water from my SodaStream it is acting like Mentos and diet Coke... ok maybe not that bad, but it completely foamed over and made a huge mess. Do you have any tips?

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Put the ice in the glass, then add the syrup, then slowly add the carbonated water. Also, you can control how carbonated the water is on soda streams, so the more bubbly you want it the slower you need to add the water. Also, every should be as could as possible, even a little warm will release the carbonation quickly and the drink will end up flat.

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  4. It's foaming up because the sugar in your syrup is trying to dissolve immediately, and in so doing, it's forcing CO2 out of solution.
    So you need to somehow slow down the dissolution of sugar. Colder and thicker syrup will help.

    I would recommend getting your syrup pretty thick, then put the appropriate amount into an empty sodastream bottle and let it chill. Next, carbonate ice cold water in a second sodastream bottle and carefully transfer the carbonated water into the bottle with syrup. When transferring, angle the bottle that you're transferring into so that the water cascades down the side rather than just falling down into the middle. Cap the bottle and shake it up to mix.

    With thicker syrup, you may end up shaking a bit more than normal. I know it's recommended to just tip end-over-end, but so long as it's capped, there's no harm in shaking the dickens out of it so long as you don't open it right away.

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  5. Diz iz gud soda I think diz shud be resipe on food tv

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, hopefully one of their producers stumbles across it sometime!

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