Monday, November 9, 2009

Meatless Monday: Ginger Ale

I'm not very fond of ginger, but I love ginger ale. Weird, I know. Doesn't make much sense, but I guess I rarely make sense . . . .

At the sushi bar, I always leave the neat little pile of sliced ginger on the corner of my plate untouched, and I often leave out ginger when making Chinese dishes, but, for some unknown reason, I think ginger ale is just delicious. Maybe I've been subconsciously brainwashed by marketing campaigns, but I really do find ginger ale a very crisp and refreshing drink.

I don't have ginger ale all that often, but when I do, I've always been more than happy with a can of Schweppes or Canada Dry to sate my craving - that is until this past week when my husband made me ginger ale from scratch!

Simple Syrup
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c water
Boil until dissolved. Let cool and refrigerate.

Ginger Liquid
  • 1/2 c grated fresh ginger
  • 1 c water
Boil 5 min. Let stand 40 min. Strain out ginger and retain liquid. Let cool and refrigerate.

You can store the simple syrup and ginger liquid separately or stir them together in one container, making 2 c of flavoring. If you mix them together, you can pour the flavored mixture about 2 fingers high in your glass. Then add ice and club soda and stir. Alternatively, you can adjust the ratio of ginger to sugar if you've kept them separate. Either way, bottoms up!

The nice thing about making ginger ale yourself using this recipe is that you can control the proportions of the ingredients per glass. For instance, my husband likes his ginger ale a little less sweet than I do, so he uses a little less simple syrup in his glass.

Another cool thing about ginger ale? Its salutary digestive effects. I know I'm not the only one who was given a glass of flat ginger ale when I was a kid with an upset stomach, right? To this day, when my stomach isn't reacting well to food but I'm still hungry, I immediately reach for ginger ale and saltines. Nothing more reliable or comforting.

I also have great memories of drinking Shirley Temples (which are non-alcoholic drinks made with ginger ale, grenadine, and maraschino cherries) at my grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary as a child. My cousins and I felt like "big kids" because we got to order drinks at the bar.

And, of course, ginger ale is a caffeine-free drink, which is great for me because my system is super sensitive to caffeine. If I have 1/2 a can of Diet Coke early in the day, I won't sleep that night, and I run the risk of getting addicted. And let me tell you, the migraines I get associated with caffeine withdrawal are UG-LY.

So, ginger ale - a nice go-to drink for all kinds of reasons. And now you can make some at home!

Got any favorite vegetarian or vegan recipes?? Please share!

Other Meatless Monday posts


Ezra said...

Huh. I always assumed there was some brewing/fermentation involved in the process.

Cheri said...

Ez, you're thinking of ginger beer. Also yummy.