Vongerichten says, "This is a ginger ale for grown-ups, a spicy, not-to-sweet, ultrarefreshing drink that combines fresh ginger, lemongrass, and chiles in a way you've probably never had them."
Fresh Ginger Ale with Lemongrass
"Jean-Georges: Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef"
(Makes about 1 quart--enough for at least 10 glasses)
1 lb fresh ginger, unpeeled and cut into small dice
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and roughly chopped
2 small fresh chiles, stems removed
1 1/2 cups sugar
soda water (I used seltzer water instead of club soda or tonic water as it is just carbonated water without other ingredients)
Combine the ginger, lemongrass, and chiles in a food processor and process until minced, stopping the machine periodically and scraping down the sides, if necessary.
Place the puree in a saucepan with the sugar and 1 quart water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Cool, then strain and chill.
To serve, place about 1/4 cup of the syrup in a glass full of ice. Fill with soda water; taste and add more syrup if you like. Garnish with a lime wedge, then serve.
Notes/Results: Absolutely delicious! The flavors work well together and nothing overpowers. The lemongrass is wonderful with the ginger, and I used two small red chilies so it was plenty spicy, but not too spicy when diluted with the soda water. I was able to use local ginger, lemongrass and Thai bird chilies in my ginger ale. To sweeten, I used an unbleached organic sugar and next time I might try agave or honey in place of the sugar. Choosing seltzer water makes the drink even more natural as it is just carbonated water and no additives. The syrup is very refreshing with the club soda and would work well as a cocktail with vodka or rum, or even simply mixed with iced tea or lemonade for a summer treat. It would also be a fun hostess gift when presented in a nice bottle. Next time I make this I am going to add some kaffir lime leaves to the mix for an additional flavor kick. An easy and great recipe for a natural and flavorful homemade soda.
I am submitting my real food beverage to Two For Tuesdays Recipe Blog Hop Carnival--celebrating "Real Food"--or food that is natural, whole, and not loaded with artificial ingredients.
My blogging buddy girlichef is one of the 4 hosts, so you can check out her blog for all of the details and to see some of the real food dishes.