Neither Rob nor I drink soda, but when I indulge, I typically reach for a ginger ale. There is something about the ginger flavor, combined with its subtle spice, that I can't get enough of.
One of my favorite Christmas presents was a new cookbook called Roots from J. Since she introduced me to both Kale and Pear Salad and Carrot Quinoa Muffins (two of my all-time favorite recipes), I knew I was in for a treat. The book is organized by root vegetables (29 in total) and ranges from commonly found sweet potatoes, beets, and parsnips to a number of vegetables I'd never heard of (salsify, cassava, crosnes). My eyes are peeled at the market now for unidentifiable vegetables in the hopes that I can branch out and experiment.
Isn't it odd how the ginger from different roots was a completely different color? I didn't really notice the variation until I looked at the picture above.
If you enjoy ginger ale, I think you'll love making your own ginger syrup. The flavor from the fresh ginger is much more pronounced and fragrant than store bought soda and it is so satisfying to make something like this yourself. I've only used the syrup with sparkling water, but my hunch is that it would be excellent in a cocktail as well.
Homemade Ginger Ale
Roots Cookbook by Diane Morgan
Yield = Syrup for 4 Ginger Ales
Ingredients for Ginger Syrup
1/2 cup grated fresh ginger (I used a cheese grater and then chopped the really stringy part of the root that I couldn't grate)
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup water
Ingredients for Ginger Ale
4 cups club soda / sparkling water
4 tbsp fresh lime juice
4 tsp fresh lemon juice
4 lime wedges
Note - I didn't measure the amount of syrup, lemon and lime juice, and sparkling water when I mixed the drink. I did the syrup to taste and squeezed in some lemon and lime juices. The measurements below come from the original recipe.
1. To the make the ginger syrup, in a small saucepan, combine the ginger, brown sugar, and water and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes to completely dissolve the sugar and infuse the syrup. Remove from the heat and let the ginger steep in the syrup until cool, about 30 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a container with a tight-fitting lid (I used these Weck jars) and then cover and refrigerate until well chilled. The syrup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
2. Fill four 16-ounce glasses two-thirds full of ice. Pour approximately 1/4 cup of syrup, 1 cup of sparkling water, 1 tbsp of lime juice and 1 tsp of lemon juice into each glass and stir to combine. Garnish each glass with a lime wedge and serve immediately.