We’re not really soda drinkers June 29, 2011Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, random stuff.
Tags: from scratch, you NEED to try this
I’ve never really been a big fan of soda.
I mean, remember back when they wanted to buy the world a Coke?
I pretty much said “no, thank you.”
Of course, there are a few exceptions – I never turned down root beer from the A&W stand – every now and then, my father would bring it home in a gallon jug. Does A&W even still do that?
And every now and then, if there’s no other choice – in an “undrinkable water” sort of way – I can be persuaded to drink some ginger ale.
An aside: judging by your basic ginger ale – I’m talking Schwepp’s or Canada Dry or something – who would ever know ginger ale had actual GINGER in it?
Ginger is really an interesting herb. There are dozens (hundreds?) of varieties, most inedible, but many with stunningly gorgeous blossoms. It’s related to both turmeric and cardamom and is credited with all sorts of good health and well-being benefits – it’s a mild antihistamine, an anti-inflammatory, good for an upset stomach, high cholesterol, heart disease, and the list goes on. And on.
One might even say it’s good for whatever “ales” you.
Of course, the recipe was published in April, and it’s taken me until mid-June to get ginger at the public market.
I might kind of forget things sometimes.
But when I did get the ginger, I got a nice, big, fat, fresh ginger, and plenty of it!
So I went right to work, the very next morning, making my own miracle elixir.
The recipe started with 5-6 ounces of ginger – I weighed what I got, and it was 8 ounces. Since I’m pretty well stocked with ginger in the freezer, I went ahead and tossed the entire hand (of ginger) into the food processor, along with 2 cups of sugar.
The recipe did direct me to peel the ginger, and I did, but you know what? I don’t think I will next time. I mean, as long as it’s clean, I don’t see why it’s necessary – it’s going to be strained anyway.
We sure live on the edge around here, don’t we?
Along with the ginger and the sugar, I needed about 1/4 cup of lemon juice. The juice of one lemon was just a little bit shy of that, so I went with that.
PLUS! Since we’re squeezing the lemon, I figured why not zest it, too? So I added the juice AND the zest of a lemon.
That’s me, always pushing that envelope!
And from there, we dumped the sugar-ginger-lemon mixture into a decent-sized saucepan, added 2 cups of water, and brought it to a boil, then turn down and simmer for a good half hour.
We’re making syrup. Kind of like simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) only far more complex. After all, It’s got ginger and lemon, too!
And it’s almost embarrassing to admit, but, well, that’s about it. The syrup will reduce a bit with half an hour’s simmering, at which point you’ll strain it into a pint jar and let it cool.
Then, you just use that as a base for your refreshing soft drink – up to a quarter cup of syrup, poured into a pint glass full of ice (it’s mighty sweet – I actually used between 2 and 3 tablespoons of syrup), then topped off with some lovely, zero-calorie, zero-sodium seltzer.
And, um, make sure you have plenty of seltzer, because this stuff is good.
And if you really want to get your buck’s worth out of the ginger? Take the solids you strain out, dump it in a bag with some chicken tenders, then grill them for dinner that night.
Here’s the original recipe – go to town with it.