Sunday, May 30, 2010

Homemade ginger ale--part 2 (by Kat)

Well, here it is. My first attempt at homemade ginger ale!

Here's the scorecard:

Taste: Very good. Sweeter than I'd confess (in public) to liking; lemon is strong but not at all bitter; ginger is perfect--not so strong that it burns, but definitely announces it's presence. I was concerned that the yeast flavor would come through, but it's only just barely there.

Carbonation: Okay. The shot above is after two days on the counter in a cool kitchen and two nights in the fridge. I'd like more carbonation, so I'll play with leaving it out a little longer. I don't think I'd add more yeast, as I really don't want a yeasty flavor. I'm still eyeballing Mr.Boom's home-brew yeasts....

Color: Pretty! I filtered this through a coarse sieve to take out the big chunks of ginger. There's still a bit of cloudiness from the lemon, but it's not an icky cloudy. You could run it through a coffee filter to clear it up further, if clarity is important to you. I'm okay with some turbidity.

Easiness: Super easy! I looked at many recipes, but the following three are representative of the entire batch. I might try Aran's and Alton's slightly fussier preparations if I ever make this for fancy company. I didn't use filtered water as suggested by Frankhauser and Alton, just regular ol' city tap water.

I'm satisfied enough with what I made to do it the same next time. I'm also a bit curious, so I'll likely be playing with recipe a bit more.

Just think of the other fruits you could add....

Instead of ginger, what about cloves?

Instead of lemon, what about green grape?


1:30 PM updated to add that we've drunk this all up, and are making more. Lots more. New addiction!

Aran Goyoaga from Canelle et Vanille, posted at Design*Sponge

Homemade Ginger Ale:
2 Tbs grated fresh ginger
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
Juice of 1 lemon
1/8 tsp active dry yeast
7 cups wate
In a small pot, add the grated ginger, sugar and ½ cup water. Bring to a boil and let sugar dissolve. Remove pan from heat and let the syrup steep and cool for about 30 minutes.
Strain the syrup through a fine sieve. Mix with the lemon juice, yeast and 2 qts of water. Whisk together and using a funnel, pour into a plastic bottle. Screw the cap on the bottle. Make sure it is a plastic bottle and not glass as the gases from the fermentation can crack the glass jar.
Let it ferment at room temperature for about 2 days until carbonation forms. Make sure to refrigerate after it starts to carbonate.

David B. Fankhauser, Ph.D.

cane (table) sugar [sucrose] (1 cup)
Freshly grated ginger root (1 1/2-2 tablespoons)
Juice of one lemon
fresh granular baker's yeast (1/4 teaspoon)
cold fresh pure water

Combine first four ingredients in a 2 liter bottle, top off with the water, and let rest at room temperature 24-48 hours.

Alton Brown

1 1/2 ounces finely grated fresh ginger
6 ounces sugar
7 1/2 cups filtered water
1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Place the ginger, sugar, and 1/2 cup of the water into a 2-quart saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to steep for 1 hour.

Pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl, pressing down to get all of the juice out of the mixture. Chill quickly by placing over and ice bath and stirring or set in the refrigerator, uncovered, until at least room temperature, 68 to 72 degrees F.

Using a funnel, pour the syrup into a clean 2-liter plastic bottle and add the yeast, lemon juice and remaining 7 cups of water. Place the cap on the bottle, gently shake to combine and leave the bottle at room temperature for 48 hours. Open and check for desired amount of carbonation. It is important that once you achieve your desired amount of carbonation that you refrigerate the ginger ale. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, opening the bottle at least once a day to let out excess carbonation.


  1. Well, that looks pretty darn tasty! And re: the alcohol content, I work at the county drunk tank and that tends to be the way my brain works!

    So regular bread yeast will work? I thought I remember hearing a long time ago that bread yeast was different from brewer's. Maybe the bread yeast just gives a bit of fizz and brewer's gives the higher alcohol content?

    I might have to try this out this summer. (On my day off, of course!)

  2. If you want fizz rather than alcohol, then bread yeast would be what you want to use. Bread yeast is good at making carbon dioxide, while ale or wine yeast is good at tolerating higher levels of alcohol, and flocculating out when they are done eating all the sugar available.

  3. Hi Kate~
    What Mr. Boom said :~)