The Dabble

-food with a side of life-

Fresh Ginger Ale with Chilled Drinks, Sorbets and Treats for Summer

The long weekend went by in a blur. One big, happy blur with fireworks in there somewhere. Our 3rd and 4th of July were spent mostly at our friends’ home with their family. It was nice to be welcomed and around such nice people. Then, we changed our firework viewing plans and wound up in the neighboring town with some of Gregs’ coworkers and people we’ve been hanging out with quite a bit in the last month. The party was an all weekend event with a pool, a great view, drinks and more fireworks. Just a good time overall. We spent way too much money and are once again tightening those purse strings. As if strings could stop me…unless I get my hands caught in them. That would do it and I probably should. That could be difficult for cooking or might just be the challenge I’ve been looking for.

Happy belated birthday to my grandma, cousin and sis-in-law! They celebrated the 2nd and 3rd, hopefully in style.

My camera has a firework setting that Greg and I attempted to master but I think the camera is lying to itself. Not one picture (of over 50) was appealing or captured anything I am proud of but I will probably share soon anyway. My camera and night shots don’t like one another. I’m thinking of holding a meeting for conciliation.

What is in agreement is ginger ale and I. We go together so well; it’s what I crave and most likely what you will see in my grocery cart. I drink the diet version because I don’t like to drink my calories (aside from alcoholic beverages). But I have a peeve with this: the closest place with diet ginger ale is 30 minutes away! This is one reason why I decided to make it. Plus, I should be using fresh ingredients, in my opinion, altogether. What was I thinking? (Except that the homemade version is full of calories. We can’t win all the time.)

Why haven’t I tried to make this delicious, refreshing concoction before recently? I’ve been on this ginger ale kick for a few years, pretty much since we moved to Minnesota. I don’t know why. After I asked myself that, the other side of me told the other side that it’s probably hard to create. No, it’s not. That side was foolish.

You simply make simple syrup infused with fresh ginger, allow it to steep, cool, strain, add some fresh lemon juice and top it with club soda or seltzer and there you have ginger ale. Ta-da! I’ve learned from experience that it’s best fresh and recommend making a batch each day if you want to keep that ginger zing. It takes less than 20 minutes to prepare and the remaining time requires no attention. I followed Real Simple’s recipe, pretty much the same as the other recipes I found on the interweb. After a few times following it exactly, I adjusted some of the cooking method to speed it up and my impatience paid off. Tasty!

My intentions are to use this in special weekend drinks and cool treats for this hot summer. Things like:

Sparkling pineapple ginger ale (yummy)
Pimm’s cup and ginger ale
Dark and stormy with ginger ale
Add it to punch, popsicles, floats and sorbets

Ginger Ale from Real Simple
Serves 8 with about 1 cup of syrup

1 ½ cups sliced fresh ginger (don’t need to peel it)
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cups water
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1 liter club soda or seltzer, chilled

Combine the ginger, sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir to dissolve the sugar. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, remove from the heat and steep for 30 minutes. This should produce about 1 cup (or more in my case) of syrup. Strain and stir in lemon juice. Add 2 tbsp of syrup to eight 8-oz. glasses and top with club soda, about three quarters full. Stir and add ice. As I mentioned above, to keep the ginger zing, make this fresh each day, adjusting the amount needed, that you’d like to sip. Add this to any drink requiring ginger ale (suggestions above) or add it to the float recipe below.

Raspberry and Mango Sorbet inspired by a Martha Stewart recipe
Serves 4
1 pint mango sorbet
1 pint raspberry sorbet
24 oz. ginger ale

Place a few scoops of each sorbet in a tall glass and fill with ¾ cup ginger ale. Serve immediately of course.

13 thoughts on “Fresh Ginger Ale with Chilled Drinks, Sorbets and Treats for Summer

  1. Ryan loves ginger ale…he always orders it whenever we travel. He would be so happy if he came home to a pitcher of homemade ginger ale. I would win some major points!

  2. Being from Canada, I can buy Canada Dry’s Gingerale pretty much in any grocery store or gas bar! We even have a Green Tea Gingerale that’s very good!!

    ~Prairie Story …care of Alison Zulyniak

  3. I’ve been dabbling with homemade sodas this summer. Haven’t made ginger ale yet, but this recipe looks like just the excuse I’ve been waiting for! (especially since I can make it extra-gingery, just the way I like it) Thanks for sharing.

  4. If one were to use splenda or some other no calorie sweetener to make the simple syrup would it then be a homemade diet beverage? And would it even work as well as sugar in making syrup? just wondering.

    Thanks, what a great idea!!

    1. I used to be a big time Splenda user. (Back in my “dieting days” in college.) I wondered that too and did a little research. I came across a few forums on the subject and CarolQ is right, I guess you can use it for simple syrup. However, the amount varied by website-one spokesperson said you can use it 50-50 and another said not to but didn’t provide a ratio. I don’t think 50-50 either. I would go for a ratio around 1 part Splenda to 2 parts water which will give you a weaker syrup but with the ginger, I don’t think I’d mind. Let me know if you give it a go. I don’t have Splenda in my cabinet right now otherwise, I’d try it.

  5. I think you can use Splenda to make a simple syrup but you will have to figure out the correct amounts for it(definately not 50-50).

    1. I think you’re right, 50-50 wouldn’t be the amount. When I gets my hands on Splenda again, I’ll try this one. If you do, CarolQ, let me know.

  6. I was just thinking of a ginger ale float the other day… now this is a great recipe to make it, instead of buy ginger ale.

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