Monday, November 14, 2011

Homemade Ginger Ale

In my quest to save money, I've also looked into finding a cheaper alternative to soft drinks.

Why not make my own?

I decided to go with Alton's ginger ale recipe on this one because he tends to overcomplicate things and for this application, that's exactly what I want.

As always in the kitchen, I' love making things if for no other reason than for the scientific pursuit of experimentation.

This take 2 days btw.

Homemade Ginger Ale
(from Alton Brown here)

6 ounces sugar
7 1/2 cups filtered water
1 1/2 ounces finely grated fresh ginger (or finely minced)
1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast (I've heard the Champagne yeast works better - I didn't have any.)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

==

Begin the process by adding the sugar (weighed out) to a sauce pan.


Add 1/2 cup of water and begin heating over medium fire.


Add the ginger.

You can grate it, but I find that it loses so much juice when grated that I just mince it really, really fine.


Heat the mixture, stirring almost constantly until the sugar completely dissolves.

It may look like it is finished as below, but it isn't. It'll be crystal clear.


It's hard to see, but you'll notice the change.

Not, cloudy, or kind of clear, crystal clear.

Cover the pot and let steep for an hour.


Once your hour is up, pour the liquid into something that you can chill in an ice bath to cool it off completely.

I used a clean cup.


Pour the ginger syrup through a strainer and funnel into a cleaned 2 liter bottle.


Press the solids to get all the liquid out.


Add the 1/8 teaspoon yeast and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and fill with FILTERED water (about 7 cups).

Tap water will kill the yeast and will not work.


Seal and give everything a good shake to distribute the yeast.

You'll see stuff floating in the bottle almost immediately.

Store at room temperature for 48 hours or until it is so hard that you cannot squeeze it. I let it go for the full 48 even after it was rock solid.

Just be aware that it could explode if you didn't tighten the lid enough.


==

You'll see all sorts of things going on inside the bottle over the 2 days.




 ==

After the 48 hours is up, stash in the fridge. This will slow down the yeast to the point where they will not make CO2 anymore. It won't kill them, just slow them down.

At the end of the process, try not to shake it as the solids are mostly on the bottom. If you want to filter it, you can. 


This is carbonated like a regular commercial bottle, so be careful opening it.

Behold the power of yeast

Pour yourself a glass.

It is absolutely refreshing and sweet. I gave it another squirt of lemon juice to balance it out a bit. 

I found a slight yeasty taste in the background that took a little getting used to. I think that maybe the Champagne yeast may make a difference, or maybe my bottle wasn't perfectly, perfectly clean.

I don't know. It wasn't a deal-breaker though.

Not too bad for a very, very cheap 2 liter of ginger ale.


Enjoy!


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