Homemade Ginger Ale Is Crazy Easy
It’s always more fun to DIY. Every week on Food52, we’ll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.
It’s not often that you’ll find me with a glass of soda in hand — I’m more of a water-with-lemon kind of gal — but there’s a certain comfort in a cold glass of ginger ale that I just can’t deny. And when it’s made from scratch with natural, fresh ingredients, the nutrition-conscious side of me doesn’t feel nearly half as bad. You could even call this ginger beer, as the recipe relies on yeast to carbonate the drink.
More: Meet ginger ale’s older, boozier cousin: The Ginger Side.
When I tested out my first two batches, one was more traditional and included raw turbinado sugar, fresh ginger root, and Champagne yeast; the other included lemon verbena leaves. Both carbonated beautifully, and the flavors were vibrant — the lemon verbena added a brighter, almost sweeter taste. But both batches lacked some of the spice that I was so accustomed to in the store-bought versions.
For the next two batches, I decreased the sugar, and added whole black peppercorns, fresh lemon juice, and a very small amount of grated nutmeg — about two grates across the Microplane. For me, this was the perfect combination of sweet and spicy; but you can adapt it to your taste. You may prefer more black peppercorns, or none at all; I find lemon verbena to be quite lovely, but fresh mint could work wonderfully, too.
Something to note: While glass bottles look pretty, I wouldn’t recommend using them during the carbonation process. A plastic bottle will allow you to feel when the pressure has built up in the bottle due to the carbon dioxide. Once the soda has carbonated, you can then transfer it to a glass bottle to serve, if you please.