Ginger Ale is a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage that consists of ginger-infused syrup and carbonated water. Here’s how to make this versatile mixer and enjoy it in cocktails.
The flavour of ginger lends itself to many cocktails and mixed drinks, adding heat and a spice note. Ginger is an easy plant to grow if you’re considering growing an edible garden. Unlike ginger beer, which is a fermented drink, ginger ale is a carbonated drink that is flavoured with a syrup that has been infused with ginger. You can read more about the differences between ginger beer and ginger ale in this article.
There are three steps to making ginger ale. First, fresh ginger is simmered in water to extract the flavour. The ginger infusion is then turned into a ginger syrup. The third step involves making the drink by mixing the ginger syrup with a squeeze of citrus juice and topping it with soda water.
Ginger syrup can be made in a variety of ways, including heating equal parts water and white sugar with ginger until the sugar is dissolved then pressing down on the ginger to extract some of the juice. However, for this recipe, ginger pieces are left to simmer in water, and after the extraction, the ginger water is strained, measured and an equal amount of sugar is added to make the syrup. This method has better control of the 1:1 ratio of sugar to water.
Ginger Ale Recipe
- 100g ginger, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups of water
- 3/4 cups sugar * (see note below)
- 2-3 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 litre soda water
- ice cubes
Equipment: small spoon (for peeling ginger), small saucepan, fine mesh strainer, cheesecloth, funnel, measuring jug, swing top glass bottle
For the Ginger Syrup:
- Using a small spoon, peel the ginger then chop into small pieces.
- In a small saucepan, add ginger and water over medium heat then leave to simmer on very low heat for 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat, cover the saucepan and leave to steep an additional 30 minutes.
- Fine strain through a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh strainer, pressing down to extract as much of the juice as possible. Keep the ginger pieces for another use.
- Measure the volume of the ginger water in a measuring jug and pour back into the saucepan. Add an equal amount of sugar (*) and on low heat, stir and bring to a simmer until the sugar is fully dissolved.
- Remove from the heat and leave to cool then store in a swing top glass bottle in the fridge. The ginger syrup keeps for approximately 10 days to 2 weeks.
For the Ginger Ale Drink:
To make the ginger ale drink, in a large pitcher, combine the ginger syrup with freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice and top with soda water. Give the drink a gentle stir, add ice cubes and serve.
Ginger Ale in Cocktails
Ginger ale pairs particularly well with dark spirits such as whisky, bourbon, spiced and aged rum. Use it in a Whisky and Ginger Highball, Dark ‘n Stormy, and your favourite Spiced Rum and Ginger. As for white spirits, try it with gin or vodka in a Ginger Buck. Keep in mind that ginger ale is alcohol free so if you’re not partaking in alcohol, experiment with some of your favourite non-alcoholic spirits.