So. So. Spicy.
I love it.
I attempted to start my own wild fermentation but, alas, a week later and it was about as lively as a rock. Being that we were literally on our way out the door for Orlando I figured I’d call it what it was (a dead failure) and toss it.
Luckily I didn’t put all my eggs in one basket, opting to prepare a batch of the quicker, yeast-fermented ginger ale as well, which was surprisingly easy. I made 4 bottles total, experimenting with both lemon and lime juices (personally? I’m loving the lime!) as well as both glass (eek!) and plastic soda bottles (no explosions, luckily, although the plastic bottle we felt held a better seal).
The final product is not as carbonated like you expect from commercial soda (although it seems like other participants saw varying degrees of fizz, from barely bubbly to exploding volcanoes). Mine was not incredibly carbonated, but rather delightfully effervescent, with a hint of fizz and a ton of spice from the ginger. If you don’t like it quite as spicy as I do, just cut back on the ginger a bit and you’ll still end up with a deliciously refreshing beverage.
I think I somewhat overestimated the amount of ginger I’d need, buying almost a whole pound of it. Luckily, ginger freezes fantastically, just peel (scrape the skin off with a spoon rather than hassling yourself with a veggie peeler) and seal in a zip-top bag. I’m sure you could also make the ginger juice well ahead of time and freeze that for later use.
But overall? Mission: gingerale was a huge success, and a refreshing (literally) break from the frustration of last month’s challenge. And definitely something I’ll be making again, especially now that the heat of summer is upon us.
Be sure to click through if you’d like my recipe and also see the beautiful, bubbly submissions from readers!
3 ounces fresh ginger, peeled
2 1/2 cups warm water, divided
1/4 cup fresh lemon or lime juice (from about 2 large), finely strained
For simple syrup:
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
*Champagne yeast can be found in beer/winemaking supply stores or online. It has a more refined flavor than bread yeast and makes for a perfectly fizzy soda. 1 packet will yield about 5 gallons of ginger ale (drink up!)
Place peeled ginger in a blender or food processor. Add 1/2 cup water and blend on high speed until few chunks remain. Alternatively, if you have a juicer, this would be a great time to use it.
Pour juice through a fine mesh sieve, pressing out as much liquid as possible. Discard leftover pulp.
To prepare simple syrup, stir sugar and water together in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
Combine ginger juice with remaining water, lime juice, and simple syrup. Divide among two 16-ounce soda bottles; add roughly 25 granules (a small pinch) of champagne yeast. Seal the cap securely, shake well, and store for 48 hours – no more, no less – in a warm, dark place. After 48 hours, refrigerate immediately to halt the fermentation process.
Adapted from Jeffrey Morgenthaler.All images and text © Lindsay Landis / Love & Olive Oil
Did you make this recipe?
Let us know what you think!
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While this challenge wasn’t quite as popular as the macarons (maybe the mention of possible explosions scared you all off?) those of you who did participate had fantastic results! Only a few minor eruptions. I loved that some of you got creative and incorporated other flavors into your recipes (hello lilac and apple!)
So, kitchen adventurers… what shall we tackle next?
I clicked on the statement, “did you know you could make your own ginger beer” and was brought to this website which is titled “how to make ginger ale”. I’m assuming there is a difference from all I’ve read, but not sure if this recipe is for ginger ale or ginger beer.
I’ve made variations of this recipe since I saw one online a few years ago and absolutely love it, and it’s the only soda I will drink (except for an occasional root beer. ) I use regular old yeast, not too much more than a 1/4 tspn, and it tastes fine. I don’t strain the lemon juice but I do sometimes strain it when I put the finished beverage into a glass.
I was never a big fan of ginger ale when I was growing up, but this version of it has some serious flavor and it delightful.
I just opened two bottles of this ginger ale a couple hours ago – YUM! I followed the recipe closely with the first batch, and used a large brown glass swingtop beer bottle. When I broke the seal, there was a LOT of pressure behind it, and the ginger ale is bright and fizzy and spicy! My second bottle was a little smaller, so I used less water in that batch, but more ginger, to try for more of a ginger beer flavor. It turned out less sweet and less fizzy, but still very refreshing! My next batch, I’ll try with a bit less ginger and see how it goes.
You probably didn’t see as much bubbling because you peeled the ginger. The bacteria that causes the effervescent fermentation is present on the skin so you may not have started with enough of it to achieve the big bubbles.
Also, if you didn’t buy organic ginger you’re less likely to have the right colonies of fermenting bacteria present. Maybe try again without peeling the ginger and see if you get a different result.
Some pineapple juice, honey, and brown sugar in place of the sugar make this so much better.
Also, if you can get a keg setup it is so much easier to carbonate the soda. But that is probably an advanced homebrewing topic!
Fun recipe, and good base for variations!
For peeps afraid of the yeast aspect, go for ginger soda:
In the last step, stir together let all ingredients except “remaining water”, and cool to at least room temp. Then add to soda water (not plain water or club soda), and put directly in fridge. Or keep the syrup, and use it for individual servings, a la Italian soda style.
I just made this and it’s currently in a dark, warm place. I’m terrified that it’s going to explode, especially since it’s in one of those nice glass bottles with the stopper.
Ginger Ale is the only carbonated drink I like! This recipe looks so easy to make, I’m going to try it this weekend. Can I share this link with the foodies in my recipe community https://www.kumbuya.com/restaurant-reviews-recipes/ They will love this!
It looks so much prettier than the traditional soda! …and I’m sure it tastes 100 times better too!
This is so neat! Ginger is a wonderful cooking ingredient and it is so good for you too. Yum.
Great roundup! thanks for the challenge and including me!
That’s awesome! Ginger Ale is my all-time favorite soda!
What great challenge! Enjoyed seeing all the results, so many thanks for posting. “Delightfully effervescent, with a hint of fizz” sounds good to me for ginger ale! I’m such a ginger freak. Have been messing with ginger a lot lately…in strawberry jam and in a coconut water simple syrup infusion (along with some whole black peppercorns for some smoky-heat) for Margaritas made with homemade sweet and sour mix. So…thanks muches for the freezing and peeling tip, Lindsay! xo
Love this. Gingerale is my favorite. I’ve been making it with my Soda Stream alot but would love to try this from scratch.
I just got a Soda Stream and was wondering if I need to add the yeast if the water is now carbonated? Thoughts?
I’ve always wanted to make ginger ale so now I’ll be trying this recipe. It seems so easy, its just like what I do to make lemonade but with some ginger too!
I give you major props for making your own ginger ale!
I would have loved to done this challenge but I’m not a big ginger fan unless it’s in a cake :) What about caramel/chocolate work for the next challenge?
What a cool challenge, and I love seeing everyone’s results! I love ginger so I’ll have to give your recipe a go. And let me just say… only you can make those damn ugly roots look so beautiful in a photo!
So fun! I just love seeing everyone’s versions! Now I must really try for myself :)
this was such a fun one! i love reading your challenges :) maybe bagels as the next one?
Lindsay – what method did you try for the wild fermentation? Any idea what went wrong? My yeast-carbonated came out almost like I wanted – a little too much lemon, but otherwise spicy, sparkling, and dry – and I’d like to try a fermented one next. Thanks for the inspiration!
I tried the method outlined in the Chow post (http://www.chow.com/recipes/10683-chow-ginger-beer), mixing grated ginger with sugar and water and letting it sit, feeding it every other day. There was maybe a tiny bit of foam, but it definitely didn’t seem ‘active’ like I feel it should have been, no idea why! If you try it, do let me know how it turns out!
This looks terrific! I love gingerale!
I did your challenge but didn’t have time to take a pic but let me tell you, this was delicious! Because my mix was VERY gingerey, I ended up cutting with sparkling water (which added the fizz as well because my bread yeast didn’t make it as fizzy as I would have liked) and then it was perfect! Next challenge I shall try and be better organised and take a pic (I also made the macarons challenge by the way!!)
Friends of ours who drank this with us mentioned a peach ginger beer they had at a restaurant. I’m definitely going to have to try that! Thanks again for encouraging us all to make homemade ginger beer!
Love your Kitchen Challenges!!!
That first photo is so beautiful, it makes me want to run out and start making this right now – and I don’t even like ginger ale.
Sorry I got mine done too late. I posted it on my blog today. It is super crazy yummy with some bourbon. It’s a sipping drink of the finest caliber.
Looks so good! I still NEED to do this!
Looks delicious, I’m glad it worked out :)
Thanks for including my Ginger Ale, and yours looks wonderful! I WANT to make mine spicier/more gingery next time. I love the kick from ginger. And that champagne yeast sounds like the ticket! I need to try that, too!
This was decent straight but I prefer more spice especially when using it as a mixer. My plan was to at least up the amount of ginger and if that alone doesn’t work I’ll try some additional addins. My favorite local cocktail joint uses black peppercorn and crushed red pepper in their ginger simple syrup. I imagine those could both be used in a ginger ale/beer as well.
Ooo, so glad it turned out well! It looks delicious! I can’t wait to read through the other posts to see how they did. One day I’ll be brave enough to try one of your challenges. ;)