How to make homemade ginger ale

Ginger ale is one of those classic beverages that has been around for a long long time. I’ve often wondered how to make homemade ginger ale. If you are feeling under the weather, or simply want a refreshing beverage, this is worth checking out.

What I Loved

I loved the simplicity of this recipe. The I was wondering how to make homemade ginger ale, I thought it would be overly complex. However, I was able to whip it up pretty quick. Furthermore, the syrup has some great longevity in the fridge. So you can keep enjoying homemade ginger ale again and again throughout the week.

The aroma of the ginger and lemon boiling was heavenly. Furthermore, it made the whole soda feel more wholesome in a way. The other thing that I loved is that you are totally able to make it your own. However, you can dramatically change the flavor simply by adding more, or less, lemon to the mixture. You can also add different berries to make a unique twist on an old classic.

Original Recipe From 1875 For Homemade Ginger Ale

Recipe for Simple Syrup

This is the base of most syrups used. Its very name indicates the ease with which it may be prepared. It is simply a solution of refined sugar in water. Regarding the quantity of sugar to be used custom varies somewhat. If the syrup be too thin, more must be used to render the soda water sufficiently sweet, and this of course dilutes the sparkling beverage and renders it less brisk to the taste.

The proportions in general use by the best druggists do not vary greatly from twelve pounds of sugar to one gallon of pure water, and if these quantities are employed the result cannot fail to prove satisfactory. 

To prepare simple syrup, therefore, take twelve pounds of the best crushed sugar, place it with one gallon of water in a convenient vessel over a fire and heat to the boiling point, skimming off the impurities, should any rise to the surface. When cool, pour into jugs or clean kegs, according to the quantity, and keep in a cool place. No clarification is necessary.

Some directions call for the use of the white of an egg to clear the syrup, but no advantage is to be gained by subjecting it to such treatment if the ordinary crushed sugar is used. Thesyrup thus made should be entirely transpa- rent and free from color.

Having our simple syrup ready, we will note the special treatment which each flavor demands. In some cases, especially when the juices of fruits are employed, the syrup is not first prepared and then flavored, but these processes go hand-in-hand. In such instances, specific instructionswill be given as required.

Recipe for Ginger Flavoring

To a pint of syrup add from one to two teaspoonfuls of the extract of Jamaica ginger, made as before directed. A few drops of tincture of curcuma will give a bright yellow appearance, which is generally considered to be indicative of greater strength of flavor. Under thename of ginger ale, a combination of ginger and lemon flavors in soda water has become quite popular. 

A ginger ale syrup may easily be prepared by adding to the ginger syrup, strongly flavored, just enough of lemon extract to modify the taste, say a teaspoonful of extract to a pint of syrup. A little of the acid solution should like-wise be added, but not as much as is used inthe syrup when flavored with lemon alone. Thebottled ginger ale is simply soda water sweetened and flavored with this syrup. Ginger syrup issometimes made by boiling the bruised rootin water until the latter has acquired a strongtaste ; it is then strained and sugar added tobring it to a syrupy consistence.

The extract of ginger ale, sold to be used as a flavoring for this syrup, seems to be simply a strong decoction of ginger colored with a little burnt sugar. Syrup of much better quality can be made by using the regular ginger and lemonextract.

Updated Recipe

Recipe For Ginger Ale Simple Syrup

  • a small piece of ginger smashed
  • 1 lemon zest and juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 pound sugar

Smash the ginger with the butt of a knife. No need to peel it. Zest and juice one lemon. Combine ginger, water, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let the flavors steep for 20 minutes.

Strain out the ginger and zest. Return mixture to the pan and add 3/4 pound sugar. Bring the solution just under a boil and remove from heat. Refrigerate. Combine 2-3 tablespoons of the simple syrup with a glass of carbonated water. If it isn’t sweet enough for you, add more syrup. If it is too sweet, add more carbonated water. Enjoy!

What I Learned

I learned that this isn’t your grocery store ginger ale. In addition, there are brands that advertise heavily that they are made with real ginger. However, they taste nothing like this ginger ale that was actually made with real ginger.

Furthermore, because real ginger was used, it definitely had a punch of heat. However, it doesn’t have to be overwhelmingly hot. You can shorten the amount of time you steep it and actually impact the concentration of real ginger flavor. Finally, I learned a lot about simple syrups. This was my first crack at making soda on my own using my own syrup. It definitely won’t be my last.

If you liked learning about a historic soda recipe, you might like learning about the history of one of America’s favorite sodas. You can find my podcast episode on Dr Pepper here.

Recipe Reference for How to Make Homemade Ginger Ale

How to Make Candy, Nathan F. Peck, 1875

How to Make Homemade Ginger Ale

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