Kitchen Experiment: Homemade Ginger Ale!
Ginger ale is great stuff. Refreshing on a hot summer day, soothing to an upset stomach, and fantastic in a variety of cocktails. Problem is, no one sells ginger ale in Kosovo.
There's a simple solution if you have a craving - make your own! If you want to try ours, drop by the Sabaja tent at Prishtina Beer Fest 6 this weekend, July 29 to 31, 2016!
Here's what you need:
Sugar - 1 cup (170g)
Freshly Grated Ginger - 1.5 Tbsp (24g)
Lemon Juice - 1 Lemon (68g)
Bread Yeast - 1/4 tsp (1g)
Cold Bottled Water - 2L
2L Plastic Soda Bottle (Not glass!)
Start by juicing your lemon and grating your ginger. Pour the sugar into the bottle through the funnel, followed by the lemon juice and grated ginger. Add the water, leaving a few centimeters of air space at the top of the bottle. Add the yeast, squeeze the bottle until the water comes up to the mouth, close the cap, and shake vigorously.
Your bottle shouldn't have any air in it now. Leave it at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours, shaking once or twice a day. You'll see the bottle return to its original shape as the yeast produces carbonation. When the bottle feels pressurized, like an unopened bottle of coke, it's good and carbonated. Refrigerate your ginger ale now - this will stop the carbonation process as well as chill your drink. Once it's cold, pop it open and enjoy!
Carbonation can be a tricky science, and pressurized containers can be dangerous. Do NOT use glass bottles for the carbonation of your ginger ale - they can easily explode.
This ginger ale is the real deal. Shweppes and Canada Dry are great, but they're mass-produced, highly processed sodas. This ginger ale will have an authentic taste you won't believe. Just make sure to use clean equipment to avoid any wild yeast or bacteria spoiling your beverage.
Experiment! We like ours a little less sweet, so we cut back on the sugar, but adjust the sugar, lemon, and ginger ratios to your own tastes. You can also try leaving the ginger ale to carbonate for more or less time to achieve your desired bubbly-ness. We think 36 hours is perfect, but you might like a different balance!
Finally, any time yeast and sugar get together, some alcohol is created. The amount of alcohol in this ginger ale is next to nothing (well under 0.5% ABV), but if you are serious about abstaining from all alcohol, you may want to avoid this recipe, or find an alternate carbonation method, like a Sodastream, and leave out the yeast.
The original recipe for this ginger ale came from David B Frankhauser, Ph.D., Professor of Biology and Chemistry at U.C. Clermont College in Cincinnati. His original webpage has unfortunately been taken down, and I cannot find a cache, but thank you Dr. Frankhauser.