Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fresh Ginger Ale with Lemongrass: A Refreshing & Natural Simple Saturday Sipper

Thumbing through a cookbook I have had forever but never seem to cook from, "Jean-Georges: Cooking at Home with a Four Star Chef" by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mark Bittman, I found a recipe for a homemade ginger ale. I love the fact that it is real food and not a store-bought soda filled with artificial ingredients, and it is made with one of my favorite ingredients--lemongrass, and also a kick of chile--making it a refreshing (and a bit fiery) choice for this week's Simple Saturday Sipper.

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)
lime wedges

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.

Note: The syrup keeps for weeks, refrigerated.

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.


Happy Saturday!


  1. sounds spicy but really refreshing.

  2. I rarely drink soda but ginger ale is one of my favorites. I just love anything that has to do with ginger. I love that you made it yourself...and that's is all spruced up!

  3. Great idea! I'm going to try to make this later this afternoon. I also like your idea of using kaffir limes, I'm imagining how aromatic the elixir would be infused with those leaves.

    I may try to make ginger ale with champagne yeast. I've tried this in the past with regular ginger ale recipes and it was wonderful to see the beverage develop its own fine bubbles.

  4. One pound of ginger - wow! This sounds like it was a fun recipe. I like that it makes quite a bit because this looks like a very tasty and super refreshing drink! Love the bottle in the background :)

  5. Wow, wow, wow, that sounds wonderful and thirst quenching!!!

  6. this sounds amazing! I want to try it. What kind of chilies did you use?

  7. Kat--it is a little spicy but the soda dilutes it nicely leaving a good kick.

    Joanne--me too! Ginger ale is my airplane beverage of choice and fun to make with more natural ingredients.

    Christine--Can't wait to hear and see how it turns out for you. Using the champagne yeast is such a interesting idea!

    Kim--1 lb worked out to be a couple of large "branches" so not too bad--sounds like more but ginger is heavy. ;-)

    Priya--thanks! ;-)

    Becky Sue--I had some small Thai bird chilies--which are pretty potent, but you could use any red chilies--depending on how much heat you want.

  8. I'm getting a nice little crop of Thai bird chilies; now if I could just grow ginger and lemongrass and, oh yeah, simple syrup, I could just sit back and let the squirrels do all the work!

    I'ma gonna make this. :)

  9. I love these syrups...This sounds wonderful!

  10. oh cool love lemongrass i bet this has a great flavor

  11. I always smile to myself when I see those ginger ale commercials that spout made with real ginger.

    I absolutely love the thought of making fresh ginger ale at home and I really appreciate you sharing this recipe, Deb. So cool:) I must bookmark it and give it a try real soon. The spicy notes are quite clever.

    Thanks again...

  12. I love ginger ale but when I buy it in a shop I am often disappointed - all fizz and no taste. Home made is so much better.

  13. What a unique and refreshing drink! I bet it would be delicious without the chilies too. Ginger ale reminds me of being sick - would love to have this instead of the bottled stuff for it's restorative properties.

  14. Why, oh why, do I not live in Hawaii. sigh... This is gorgeous...I totally want some! Thanks for sharing it with Two for Tuesdays =)

  15. And here I get accused of putting chile into everything, but not yet my ginger soda. Fantastic!

  16. Deb, thanks so much for participating in the two for tuesday recipe blog hop and I hope to see you again next week! I also want to sip this with you in Hawaii! I make my own Kombucha and now I am going to try your great recipe! I grabbed your RSS feed and follow on twitter. Keep it REAL! alex.

  17. This drink sounds so yummy and refreshing! The chili's seem like such a fun and unique addition to ginger ale - I love it. Thanks for adding this to our Two for Tuesday blog hop!


Mahalo for visiting and for leaving a comment. I love reading them and they mean a lot!

All advertising, spam, inappropriate (or just plain rude) comments will be promptly deleted. I do appreciate your right to free speech and to your opinion but I'm not into mean, rude, or mean snarky (non-mean snarky is just fine!) ;-)