Ginger is one of our favorite products here at the Hampshire College Farm. The baby ginger that we grow is much crisper, fresher, and tastier than what you can find in the grocery store, which is often in its second year. In addition to being really tasty, ginger has many medicinal qualities: it is a great anti-inflammatory and digestive aid and helps fight the common cold.
There are tons of things you can do with ginger, from baking to stir-fries to hot tea. We will have more recipes that include ginger in the upcoming weeks, but we thought we’d start you off with this easy, refreshing recipe, which is great for parties, hot afternoons, or upset stomachs. You can easily adjust the amounts of ginger, simple syrup, and club soda to taste. In addition, if you set aside the ginger bits after making the ginger ale, you can easily make sugared ginger for a dessert.
Homemade Ginger Ale AND Sugared Ginger
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: about 10 minutes plus cooling
Serves about 4
1/3 c grated or finely chopped ginger – more or less to taste
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 additional cup water
Club soda or seltzer (plain or a light citrus like lemon and/or lime)
1/2 lemon or lime – reserve a few slices for garnish and save the rest for squeezing
Simmer the ginger in 2 cups of water for about 10 minutes, or to taste. The ginger water will be diluted later, so make it stronger than you might otherwise. (To make it stronger, add more ginger and/or simmer longer.)
Meanwhile, bring the sugar and the second cup of water to a boil, then allow to cool. This makes simple syrup.
When the ginger water is fairly strong, strain the ginger out of the water and allow the water to cool. Set aside the ginger bits if you want to make sugared ginger later.
When ready to serve, mix 1/2 cup of the ginger water with 1/3 cup of the simple syrup and about 1/2 cup of the club soda (or seltzer). Mix in a few squeezes of lemon or lime juice.
Serve in tall glasses over ice and garnish with a lemon or lime slice.
To make the sugared ginger, allow the leftover ginger bits to dry out and then toss them with sugar. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for a delicious gingery treat.