Why would I make my own ginger ale when I can buy it at the store?Conventional store-bought ginger ales often contain high fructose corn syrup, or other unhealthy sweeteners, as well as preservatives and "natural flavoring" for the ginger, which is another word for chemicals.
Homemade ginger ale has these advantages:
- It contains real ginger! ... and
- It's fermented, so it contains healthy probiotics.
These two facts means it's great for our immune & digestive systems. .... Not convinced? Please see my article on the medicinal value of ginger.
3/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and diced
1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 – 1/2 cup sweetener (rapadura, sucanat, organic raw cane sugar, or raw honey)
1/4 cup whey*
2 quarts filtered water (or, basic water, if that's what you have)
*Want to know where to get whey? Click here.
1. Peel & chop the ginger.
2. Place ginger along with all the other ingredients in a 2-quart mason jar. Stir well & cover tightly.
3. Leave the jar at room temperature for about 2-3 days while the contents begin their natural fermentation process. Monitor the taste as this process happens. It should become bubbly.
4. After 2-3 days, transfer to the refrigerator. The ginger ale will keep for several months in the refrigerator.
To serve, strain into a glass. Because it is fermented, your homemade ginger ale will probably be stronger than most ginger ales you’ve tried in the past. If it’s too strong, dilute it with some carbonated water. The carbonated water will also add some additional fizz. The fermentation process means that it will have some alcohol content. Dilute & serve in small amounts for kids :)
It is best sipped warm, in small amounts, rather than gulped down cold.
A little ginger ale history from Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions:
"Modern ginger ale has two ancestors. One is ginger beer, brewed and bottled at home like root beer. A fermented, bubbly drink, it was sometimes alcoholic, mostly not. The other is ginger water or "switchel," as New Englanders called it, a nonalcoholic drink prepared for farmers during long, hot days of scything in the hayfields. By Laura Ingalls Wilder's day, ginger drinks were flavored with sugar rather than with natural sweeteners, such as maple syrup or honey; and the tart taste was obtained from vinegar rather than from lacto-fermentation."
Sally Fallon & Mary Enig, PhD. Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition & the Diet Dictocrats. Revised Second Edition.