Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ginger Ale

Continuing on today's theme of making unusual things from scratch (like the cheese below), I made a bottle of ginger ale tonight!  It won't be ready for another 2-3 days, as it needs time to ferment and carbonate, so I won't have a full review until then.  I did try a sip of the mixture before sealing it up, however, and it tasted good!  I'm really excited to see how the yeast and sugar work together to turn it into a carbonated beverage.  Should be fun!  If it tastes good, we can save money on the mixers for Brad's Crown and Ginger Ales.  ; )

Here's the recipe if you want to try it.  Very, very, very simple.

Ginger Ale

1 empty 2-liter plastic bottle with screw-on cap (DO NOT use a glass bottle)
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger root
juice of 1 lemon (optional)
fresh, cold water

Thoroughly rinse out the 2-liter bottle.  Using a funnel, pour the sugar and the yeast into the bottle.  Swirl the bottle around to combine.

In a small bowl, combine the ginger and lemon juice, and stir to make a slurry.  The lemon juice is optional, but gives a tartness to the ginger ale.  It can be made either way.  Add the slurry to the bottle, using the funnel.  Don't worry if some bits remain on the funnel.

Fill the small bowl or measuring cup with cold water and swirl around to get any ginger/lemon remnants from the sides.  Pour this water into the bottle (this will get any remaining bits from the funnel into the bottle), place the cap on tightly, and shake several times to combine ingredients and begin dissolving the sugar and yeast.

Fill the bottle the rest of the way with cold water, leaving about one inch of room.  Place the cap on tightly, and shake until the sugar and yeast are dissolved.  There will still be pieces of the grated ginger floating about, as it doesn't dissolve, but that's OK.

Leave the bottle out at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours (not usually more than this; it ferments very quickly), until the bottle feels hard.  Give it a good, forceful squeeze with your fingers, and if it's hard and doesn't give at all, it's ready.  Do not leave it at room temperature beyond this point, as it can explode.

Chill overnight, then open slowly to release some of the pressure before opening completely.  If desired, strain to remove floating bits of ginger.  Otherwise, pour and serve.

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