Recipe will make eight 16oz bottles
3 ounces of fresh ginger root (You can add more if you like strong ginger taste.)
6 tablespoons of citrus juice (Lemon &/ or orange)
3/4 cup of sugar (Natural cane is best. Light brown sugar gives an extra richness to the flavor.)
4 1/2 quarts of water
Some yeast from the supermarket. Bread yeast will work, but wine yeast is best.
To create extra zing, simmer the ginger mixture with 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom, or a few cloves. A 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the cooking will give a subtle earthy flavor. If you really want a bite to your pop – or for a cold / fever remedy, add a teeny pinch of cayenne pepper.
1. Grate ginger root and put in a large, heavy bottomed soup pot.
2. Simmer the ginger, juices, and sugar in 1 1/2 quarts of water for 30 minutes to an hour. The longer it simmers, the stronger the brew will be. You can add a pinch of dry ginger spice for extra “bite.”
3. Remove from heat and strain. Make sure you squeeze out all the juice. The leftover ginger root pulp can be composted.
4. Mix the brew with the other 3 quarts of water.
5. Let it all cool till lukewarm.
6. Ladle out a bit of the lukewarm mixture into a jar and stir in 1/8 teaspoon of yeast.
7. After 15 minutes the mixture will foam. Add the yeast solution back to your lukewarm brew.
8. Let the brew sit for 10 minutes
Now it’s time to bottle up your soda! We use glass carboys and bailtop beer bottles (available at any homebrew store). But you have to have experience and be extra careful with these because the buildup of carbonation gasses can explode glass, and all jars have to be opened carefully. Glass bottles should be stored in a safe, out of the way place just in case of explosion. They should also be put in the fridge after one day to stop the carbonation (and stop the risk of exploding glass).
We recommend that you use empty plastic soda bottles instead. Make sure you CLEAN your bottles with a bleach solution. Make a mixture of 2 tablespoons of bleach in a gallon of water and clean your bottles with this — inside and out. Make sure to use a bottle brush to get in all the “corners” and then rinse thoroughly with hot water and air dry.
When the bottles are ready, pour in the brew and twist the caps on tight. Don’t fill bottles to the top. Leave about 3-4 inches of headspace. Squeeze the bottles and notice how they give. Leave on the kitchen counter and, every few hours, squeeze them to monitor the buildup of the carbonation. They will get harder to squeeze as the carbonation builds up. When they no longer give any more and seem ready to explode, put them in the fridge. This will stop the carbonation.
Drink cold and enjoy! Homemade ginger ale is best used up within a week or two of brewing.
FOR A SIMPLER, QUICKER HOME MADE GINGER ALE:
If the whole carbonation thing is too complicated or you don’t want to wait very long, then just use carbonated water, like club soda or seltzer water, in place of that extra 3 quarts of water.