Ginger Syrup Ingredients
•1 cup granulated sugar
•1/2 cup water
•2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
Ginger Ale Ingredients
•1/8 tsp active dry yeast
•Ginger syrup (above)
•3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
•7 cups filtered water
Servings: 2 liters
Peel a chunk of the ginger with the tip of a teaspoon—the papery skin scrapes right off—and grate it, using the fine side of your grater. Place the ginger, sugar, and water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to steep for an hour. Strain the mixture (discard the ginger solids) and allow to cool.
Stop right here if you’re looking for a short-cut to ginger ale and you don’t want to mess around with the fermentation process. Pour three or four tablespoons (more or less depending upon how gingery you like it) of your syrup over ice and add 8 ounces of water or club soda. Bottle the rest of the syrup and store it in the refrigerator.
For the fermentation, lace a funnel in the top of the bottle and pour in the filtered water. Sprinkle the yeast in, followed by the syrup, lemon juice, and water
Put the lid on the bottle and shake until the yeast is dissolved. Stow it on a shady shelf or in your pantry out of direct sunlight for 2-3 days, or until fizz is achieved. At this point it is ready to drink, and must be stored in the refrigerator to prevent further fermentation. Don’t forget about the bottle, or the pressure will build up so much that it may explode!
As with any yeast-powered beverage, the fermentation process continues unless you prevent it from happening. Refrigerating will slow the process down but not stop it completely, that’s why it’s best to treat ginger beer as a perishable beverage. Consume within 1-2 weeks. Be sure to open the bottle every day to release the extra gas, otherwise the bottle might explode and you’ll have a big mess on your hands! Note that as the beverage ferments, sediment will settle at the bottom of the bottle. You can strain it out if you wish.