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Homemade Spicy Ginger Ale

Homemade Spicy Ginger Ale recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

Is there real ginger in Ginger Ale?

If Ginger Ale did not include real ginger – with all its innumerable health benefits – why would our parents ask us to drink it when we have an upset stomach?  Why would the canned drink be so popular on airplanes where many of us are prone to motion sickness?

Real ginger can alleviate these symptoms.  But when our stomach hurts and we’re munching on some dry crackers, or when the airline stewardess hands us that small bag of pretzels and asks us what we want to drink, we don’t think why we crave a can of Ginger Ale, we just order one.

Some traditions never change.  But the ingredients in Ginger Ale do.

Homemade Spicy Ginger Ale by SeasonwithSpice.com What began as Ginger Beer a few centuries ago in England – a concoction of ginger, water, sugar, lemon juice and ginger beer plant – eventually led to the creation of a non-alcoholic version called Golden Ginger Ale.  This dark, carbonated drink with a strong ginger flavor was finally replaced in popularity by the lighter, less spicy version we know today – Dry Ginger Ale.

While ginger beer and golden ginger ale generally have a high concentration of ginger, does dry ginger ale include the real spice?

Yes, according to Canada Dry, but as just one part of the “Natural Flavors” of the drink.  They go on to state that they do not claim any of the health benefits of ginger in their canned drink.

It is clear then that the drink includes just a trace of real ginger for flavor, and not enough to calm your aching stomach.

what color is ginger ale?

Our knowledge of spice as medicine vanished with the invention of the many over-the-counter drugs we are familiar with today.  But even though that knowledge disappeared, many of our traditions are still linked to that earlier time (something I realized when I made my family recipe for chicken noodle soup with nutmeg).

When ginger beer and ginger ale were first created, they were part soothing drink, part soothing medicine.  If you had felt nauseous or had an upset stomach, you drank a ginger ale.  A tradition that continues to this day even if there isn’t much real ginger in a ginger ale.

Homemade Spicy Ginger Ale recipe by SeasonWithSpice.comWhile the placebo effect of drinking a can of dry ginger ale may alleviate your stomach ache, your stomach won’t need any convincing with a refreshingly spicy homemade version.

To make a delicious ginger ale at home, it’s as easy as steeping fresh ginger to extract the healthy gingerol, then mixing in the sugar, and finally pouring a little of that ginger syrup into a glass with ice, lime juice, and soda water. And if you’re like me, enjoying it with a bag of pretzels.

Homemade Spicy Ginger Ale recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

Homemade Spicy Ginger Ale recipe by Season with Spice

Ingredients:
1 cup of fresh ginger – peeled and chopped finely
2 cups of water
1/2 cup of raw or white sugar
1 tbsp of dark brown palm sugar (for a richer color and flavor)
Lime wedges
Soda water
Ice

Process:
1. Add water and chopped ginger into a small pot, and cover. Bring to a boil, then turn fire off, and let steep for 30-60 minutes (depending on how strong you want the ginger flavor).
2. Strain out chopped ginger, and return the ginger-spiced water to the pot. Stir in sugar, bring mixture to a boil, then turn fire off.
3. Allow ginger syrup to cool. In a glass, add syrup (according to your taste) with ice, freshly squeezed lime juice, and soda water.

Notes:
- Many ginger ale recipes include the sugar immediately, but to best extract the ginger flavor (gingerol), leave the sugar out in the first step.
- I prefer a watery ginger syrup since it is easier to mix in to the drink, but if you prefer a thicker syrup, keep boiling the water out in Step 2 until the syrup reaches the desired consistency.
- Go ahead and experiment with additional spices in your ginger ale, like black peppercorns, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, dried chili peppers, star anise, cardamom, and so on (just add in the spices in Step 1 and strain out with the ginger).
- This recipe will make about 1.5 cups of ginger syrup, which will make around 20 glasses of ginger ale. Store ginger syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator (will keep for at least a few weeks, but probably much longer).

strong ginger ale recipe to treat stomach ache and cold symptoms

20 comments:

BiteMyCake said...

I'm loving this! Big fan of ginger. Both soothing and refreshing

Chiot's Run said...

Looks so tasty & refreshing! Ginger is one of my faves. I've made traditionally fermented ginger beer before, but sometimes fresh ginger is what you want!

seasonwithspice said...

Thanks Tamara!

seasonwithspice said...

Thanks! Traditional ginger beer sounds good too. Will have to try that soon

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

Great shot of wet cold drinks, making ourselves thirsty!!! I used to drink more ginger ale when I was in Japan, but I haven't had ginger ale for a long time since I came here. Hmm, I guess it's not very popular here? I love that drink.

carey said...

I've made homemade ginger ale a number of times, but always with a recipe that involves combining everything and letting it simmer and reduce for 20 minutes. I prefer my ginger ale to be less sweet with more of a kick, so your notes regarding steeping the mixture and adding the sugar later are super helpful. Definitely following this method next time!

Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) said...

I've wonder the same thing about why give kids sugar water when their stomachs are upset. I still love it though...Although, this looks MUCH tastier! Your pictures are absolutely stunning, and I'm dying for one of those right now!

Adrienne said...

Fantastic idea! Ginger ale is so refreshing, and this looks even better than the norm! Great photos, too :)

seasonwithspice said...

Hi Nami, you're right, for some reason ginger ale isn't that popular in the US. I guess it was a popular drink a century ago, but when Coke came along, it was all over for ginger ale.

seasonwithspice said...

Glad to help, Carey. I was just reading on your blog, petite kitchenesse, about SodaStream. Definitely buying one of those when I get back to the US to make ginger ale with.

Enjoy your ginger ale with a kick!

seasonwithspice said...

Thanks Kelli! I think it must be the bubbles, more than the sugar that temporary relieves a stomach ache. For some reason, we've all been convinced to drink brand name soft drinks when our stomachs hurt. But I can't believe all that corn syrup is going to help.

seasonwithspice said...

Thanks!

John said...

Loved this recipe! I tried it out as written at first and while tasty, wasn't quite as spicy as I like (I'm a big Vernor's fan). Second time around I added 1.5 sticks of cinnamon and a small handful of black peppercorns. HOLY FREAKING AMAZING!

Season with Spice said...

Thanks John! Yeah, this recipe is really just a starting point, so I'm glad you went ahead and spiced it up with pepper and cinnamon. The best ginger ale has that spicy burn on the throat.

Carolyn said...

Just made this to help with morning/all day sickness...so nice to have something new to drink AND so much better than the ginger tea brews my aunts swear by! I'm feeling better already!

Season with Spice said...

That's really great to hear, Carolyn. Glad the ginger ale made you feel better!

Robertcox999 said...

Made this recipe and it is really tasty. I added a few spices to it as recommended - about 4 or 5 peppercorns, 2 cardamom pods, some dried chile flakes and a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg. Really has a nice fire to it, I think the pepper and chile helped. Probably use less sugar next time though.

Is best with ice, two wedges of lime squeezed into it, soda and a splash of vodka. Very refreshing, thanks!

Season with Spice said...

Thanks for the tips, Robert, and happy you enjoyed it. To get that familiar ginger ale flavor, the additional spices are definitely needed.

Marri said...

My mother always gave us ginger ale when we had an upset tum back in the days. Even now when I get a sick migraine and get the nauseous feeling I will take a piece of stem ginger or crystallized ginger and have a nibble. Now I am in England I have access to the ginger beer, but think this recipe is more appealing. Off to the shops tomorrow for the ingredients to give it a try. I can see this living permanently in my fridge! Thanks for the recipe.

Season with Spice said...

I hope our generation can keep the ginger tradition alive. Great to hear you are going to give the recipe a try. I usually recommend going easy on the spices in many of my recipes, but for this one, go to town. Good to have a spicy ginger ale on those rainy days in England.

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