A tall, refreshing glass of ginger ale is a fantastic drink and it's surprisingly easy to make at home. Ginger ale is, quite simply, carbonated water sweetened and flavored with ginger-flavored syrup. That really is it and it's one of the easiest homemade sodas you can mix up. If you are a true fan of ginger ale, you'll also find that this is more economical than store-bought options.
The syrup in this recipe uses a good amount of fresh ginger along with a little lemon peel, which gives it a nice kick. Beyond that, it's as simple as boiling water and dissolving sugar, so this is something anyone can pull off.
Once you have the syrup, all you have to do is add cold club soda and your ginger ale is ready. This recipe is a great springboard for so many beverages both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
- 2 cups ginger (fresh, peeled, and chopped)
- 3 strips lemon peel (about 4 inches each; yellow part only)
- 4 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups sugar (white)
- 3 quarts club soda (chilled)
- Optional: ice cubes
In a 4-quart saucepan, place ginger, lemon peel, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer at a low boil, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.
Add sugar, stirring constantly, and continue to boil until reduced to about 3 cups (about 15 minutes).
Place a fine wire strainer over a large bowl. Pour in the ginger syrup to separate the solids from liquids. Discard the lemon peel. The strained, cooked ginger pieces can be reserved for other uses like vanilla ice cream or yogurt if desired.
Allow the ginger simple syrup to cool before pouring into a glass container. Seal it tightly and chill at least 1 hour until it's cold.
When ready to serve, for each 16-ounce serving, mix 1/4 cup ginger simple syrup with 1 cup cold club soda and pour over ice. Additional ginger syrup or sugar may be added to sweeten it to fit your taste.
Store the ginger simple syrup in the refrigerator. It should be good for up to one week.
Tips and Variations
You can add dimension to your ginger syrup by bringing in an extra ingredient or two. For winter, cut the white sugar in half and make up for that with brown sugar to create a richer syrup with a warmer feel.
You can also add other herbs and spices to give your syrup a new profile. Try either a few fresh mint leaves or a single cinnamon stick. Simply add these along with the ginger and lemon while boiling the water.
Keep in mind that you can use any unflavored carbonated water to replace the club soda. Seltzer and sparkling mineral water are essentially the same as club soda, though the latter does have a few additives. However, you should avoid actual "sodas" because these already have the sweetener. Those defeat the entire purpose of making your own ginger ale.
More Ginger Simple Syrup Recipes
While you have the ginger syrup, use it to sweeten other beverages. It's great with hot or iced tea and can really add a nice spice to a cup of hot cocoa. If you need more ideas to get you started, try one of these drink recipes:
Lemongrass Ginger Iced Tea: In this cooling beverage the ginger simple syrup is infused with lemongrass for a refreshing iced tea.
German Vacation Cocktail: That's a wild-and-crazy name for a delicious cocktail made with Jagermeister, rum, orgeat syrup, ginger syrup, and bitters.
Mad Hatter's Tea Party Cocktail: Rum, lime juice, cane sugar simple syrup, and ginger simple syrup but no tea make up this Wonderland beverage.
Stoli Alibi Cocktail: This recipe is a twist on the famous Moscow mule. It has all the same flavors but replaces ginger beer with ginger syrup and club soda.
The Office Party Shot: Not sure how this sweet, spicy, and tart drink got its name but it is fun. It combines tequila with ginger simple syrup, grenadine, fresh lime juice, and red pepper.