As regular readers of this site will have gathered, I'm more of a cocktail girl than a soda jerk. We have an ever increasing stock of Coca Cola cans in the back of our cupboard because the local Indian restaurant keeps offering them for free with deliveries and I'm too shy to tell them we don't like it. But there are exceptions to my soda-aversion and one of them is ginger ale. I like Canada dry, I like Vernons, I like just about every ginger ale I've ever tried. Ginger ale is not sold in France.
Story of my life.
So today I had a hankering for a tall bubbly glass of ginger ale and had to do what our American forefathers did when the shipment from England didn't arrive on time: improvise with local ingredients. Unlike them, I also had the infinite wisdom of the web at my fingertips, which also helped. So, based on a number of recipes and my own common sense here is my simple recipe for a refreshing glass of ginger ale:
For the syrup
150 grams of ginger, peeled and chopped
150 grams sugar
1 cup water
Combine these three ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a just barely bubbling boil and leave for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. (That's not actually necessary, but sometimes I'm a fiddly cook.)
In a clean wide jar that will hold at least a cup, squeeze the juice of one lime and one small lemon. Fish out the seeds if necessary.
Once the ginger syrup is getting a bit thick and syrupy, pour it into a strainer over the jar. Let it cool, if you have the leisure, before putting the lid on and shaking. (If you are in a hurry, do not put the lid on right away, but stir with a spoon. If you put a lid on a jar of hot liquid, as the liquid cools it will create a vaccuum and make it very difficult for you to open the jar. And messy.)
To assemble: fill a glass halfway with ice. Pour in ginger syrup and Perrier or some other fizzy mineral water at a proportion of 1:6, leaving a bit of space at the top of the glass so that you can add more water if it's too strong. Gingery, a little spicy and a little sweet and sharp with the lemon flavour, it's the perfect drink for a hot Indian summer afternoon. And if you happen to be on a boat prone with seasickness or in the throes of morning sickness it will alleviate your symptoms in a very nice way.
If you think that this method of using commercially produced fizzy water is for wimps, you might want to check out Barrett's version of ginger ale which is, well, alive.