Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ginger Ale

Aside for the things listed in my bio, I love few things more than ginger. My friends and I went out for happy hour the other day and the bar we went to specialized in infused liquors. I had a drink with ginger whiskey. I probably smiled far too widely just looking at the menu. It’s all a part of my supreme love for things ginger.

In 8th grade, my class, as a part of a project of which I can no longer remember, made root beer. While I do oh so love root beer as well (future project!), I decided a bit back to take a stab at making ginger ale. All I needed was a funnel. Finally, after a trip to IKEA, it was time to make ginger ale. It was worth the wait. You can see the original recipe here (he also has recipes for cheese!).

Ginger Ale from David B. Fankhauser, Ph.D:

Makes about 2 liters

1 c. cane sugar
1½-2 Tb. freshly grated ginger root (I ended up with 2½)
Juice of one lemon
¼ tsp. fresh granular baker's yeast
Cold fresh pure water

Add 1 cup sugar to the 2 liter bottle with a dry funnel. Leave the funnel in place until you are ready to cap the bottle. Add yeast through funnel into the bottle, shake to disperse the yeast grains into the sugar granules. Grate the ginger root and place grated ginger in the cup measure. As I mentioned above, I ended up with about 2½ tablespoons. Grating it ended up being a bigger mess than I had anticipated and when there was extra in the bowl, I just decided to roll with it. Plus, Reed’s is my favorite kind of ginger ale and they are extra ginger-y, so why not. The mess wasn’t all that bad. And it made my hand smell awesome, so there’s always that.

Juice the whole lemon and add the juice to the grated ginger. Stir the lemon juice and grated ginger to form a slurry. Add the slurry of lemon juice and grated ginger to the bottle. (It may stick in the funnel. Don't worry the next step will wash it into the bottle.) Rinse containers with fresh clean water. Add the rinsings to the bottle, cap, and shake to distribute. Fill the bottle to the neck with fresh cool clean water, leaving about an inch of head space, and securely screw cap down to seal. Invert repeatedly to thoroughly dissolve sugar.

Place in a warm location for 24 to 48 hours. (Do not leave at room temperature longer than necessary to feel hard. The excess pressure may cause an eruption when you open it, or even explode the bottle!) Test to see if carbonation is complete by squeezing the bottle forcefully with your thumb. If it dents, it’s not done.

Once the bottle feels hard to a forceful squeeze, usually only 24-48 hours, place in the refrigerator. Before opening, refrigerate at least overnight to thoroughly chill. Crack the lid of the thoroughly chilled ginger ale just a little to release the pressure slowly. Filter the ginger ale through a strainer if you find floating pieces of ginger objectionable. These are found in the first glass or two poured, and, since most of the ginger sinks to the bottom, the last glass or so may require filtering too. Rinse the bottle out immediately after serving the last of the batch.

I thought that this stuff tasted amazing and there was a satisfying csssh when I first opened the bottle, but it definitely wasn’t as carbonated as I would have liked. Mine felt hard after 24 hours, but I’m wondering if I left it just a little longer if the carbonation would have been better. The solution, for now anyway, is to just drink it straight or mix it with sparkling water. The flavor is definitely there, though. As my friend Corey said “Ahh…ginger!” Coming from someone who isn’t a huge ginger fan, I took that as a big compliment. I still have about half a bottle in the fridge, but I am going to try this one again.

Like I said, so worth the wait.


Turner said...

This is amazing! I love ginger ale (and even more - whiskey gingers!), so I am going to have to try this out...

Is the yeast you used the same type of yeast for bread?

Renai said...

Ughhhhhhhh I am so in love with you!!!!

Becca said...

Turner - Yes, the exact same kind. And the bar we went to was Tiga, which is on NE 15th and Prescott.

Renai - The feeling is mutual.

N Germain said...

Try Champagne yeast on your next batch. You may like the results better!

Kirsten said...

i agree with turner...whiskey gingers are delightful. I am nervous to try the recipe because if im drinking soda it is so for the carbonation...so you know. ps i love tiga and live near there, we should get drinks some time!

Becca said...

Nicki - I will definitely try that out. There's a homebrewing supply store not too far from here that carries it.

Kirsten - See my above comment. And yes, let's go for drinks!

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