Friday, May 28, 2010

Homemade ginger ale--part 1 (by Kat)

Bet and I have a very long history.

One time, I said very, very, very long and she said that was overstating it a little bit. I, for one, have accepted my grey hair naturally. Bet, perpetually surrounded by teenagers, is in a bit more denial, I guess. All I can say is that our 20th high school reunion is this summer...and we've been friends since sixth grade. Isn't that very, very, very long? At least very, very, if you ask me.

I'm not sure if it was during that first summer of our friendship or if it was the second. I suppose it could have even been our third, but since we get to write our own history, we'll just go back to that hot summer day shortly after school was out for the year. I lived about a mile out of town to the east, and she lived about a mile to the north of town. We had our bikes, though, so we had our freedom.

On this hot day, we were plopped on the floor of my family's den. My folks were at work, I suppose, and I couldn't tell you where my brother was. Maybe next door at my grandparent's house? Who knows....

Anyway, we got the brilliant idea to walk into town to get root beer floats at the Dairy Queen. We jumped the back fence and headed down the train tracks on foot. At some point, my dog (Samantha) decided to follow. I don't know why we didn't think this would happen, but I'm not sure we were thinking anything at all. It was summer vacation, after all.

Anyway, we followed the tracks to the edge of town, at which point we had to cross a very main street. I laugh at that description of it now, as there are now two lanes in each direction, PLUS a turning lane. Now that's a main road! At least it is in my little town. Have I ever mentioned that I never left? Bet did, but not me. Somehow I got stuck here, but I wouldn't have it any other way now.

Anyway, we had to cross the main road with my dog who wasn't on a leash and didn't even really know her own name. That dog was the dumbest dog, and we never did bond. I wish I'd tried harder, but there you go. So, we finally got the two of us and the dumb dog across the road, and were confronted with what to do with Samantha while we went in to get our drinks. I don't know why we didn't use the drive-through, but it was summer break and we weren't really thinking. I mentioned that already, right?

For the life of me I can't remember how this part happened, but we found a rope and were able to tie her up to the railing. We bought our floats, and ate them outside under the hot hot sun. Never had a root beer float tasted so good to me before that day. Somehow, we finally made it back home and flopped in front of the TV again.

Luckily, we arrived just in time to watch Bet's favorite show. We HAD to watch that show. I would have watched anything to keep her happy. I had a friend.

The next summer, we hit the DQ again. Root beer floats, again.

Pretty soon we were driving to the DQ, drinking root beer floats.

We still do it, but sometimes we don't get them until July or August. But, if it's summer, Bet and I have to go get our root beer floats.

Are you still reading this? Wondering what the heck this has to do with ginger ale? Yesterday Bet left the following comment on my Daring Bakers Challenge post:

"Num. Why did I move so far away? Ever think about homemade rootbeer? What do you think that takes? That is not a challenge.

Not a challenge my patooty!!!!!

So, to make root beer at home, you have to have root beer extract. Boring! And, I don't feel like going to the store.

But ginger ale?!

I had all the ingredients here in the house, so I started a little batch.

I hope it doesn't explode. Mr. Boom's homebrew wine has exploded, his homebrew beer has exploded, and I'd really rather not repeat those experiences!

Ginger ale:

1/2 cup sugar
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (I used one half of a large-ish lemon)
small knob of ginger
1/8 teaspoon regular old bread yeast (I eyed Mr. Boom's champagne yeast, I admit...)
water (I used town tap, but imagine that spring water would be better)

I like to keep a bit of ginger in the freezer.
It keeps very well, and once frozen, ginger is very easy to mince.

Use a funnel to get all the ingredients into a one-liter bottle.
This is Mr. Boom's water bottle. He forgot to take it to work today.

Lemon bits and yeast critters are floating about in suspension.

Let the bottle sit out overnight or until the pressure on the bottle
is so great that you can't press the side in.



  1. Aaahhhhh. That explains that root bear comment. I thought it was a bit cryptic. I haven;t made ginger beer for ages but a friend has been having a lot of joy with the plastic soft drink explosions and no mess!

  2. My fingers are crossed! It's already bubbling away...

  3. you just KNOW this stuff? This looks really good. Really, really, really good. I'll bet it would straighten a person's digestion out for weeks at a time.

    Really, really, really, really good.

  4. So it's fermented? What's the alcohol content?

  5. Murr,
    I'm a born genius, what can I say?! NOT!!! I scavenged this recipe from several sources around the internet, which I'll document in my next post...

    According to Dr. Frankhauser, you'd have to drink about 1.5 gallons of this stuff to equal one garden-variety beer. So, yes, there's alcohol in it. Am I concerned about it one wit? Nope.