If you missed our original home ginger recipe, I can tell you it was a huge hit. That said, there’s always room for improvement. Hence we hereby give y’all Ginger Ale II – The Sequel.
Specifically, while the ginger taste was front and center, we found that honey not only added a fairly dominant taste note, but was rather expensive. Replaced with cane sugar, we found the recipe still good, but the sugar tended to bring the heat of the ginger out even more. We thought back to that Reed’s we liked so much and decided to try pineapple. The results were spectacular; you get a delightful pineapple note on the front end, with a well-tempered ginger finish, a more natural sweetener, and with pineapples at 2 for $5, a genuine bargain. We also increased the citrus, and added lemongrass and vanilla for some really lovely background notes.
We have a fabulous juicer that we used to extract the pineapple, but you could effectively employ a blender or processor as well.
1 Pound fresh Ginger Root
6 Cups Water
2 Fresh Pineapples
2 small Limes
1 small Lemon
Roughly 12″ Lemongrass
8-10 Kaffir Lime Leaves
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
Pinch Sea Salt
OPTION: If this isn’t sweet enough for you, you can adjust each glass as you see fit, but try this first!
Rinse and dice ginger root – No need to peel it – Saves time, no difference in flavor or extraction.
Wash, rinse, zest and juice lemon and one lime. Cut second lime into quarters. Rough chop lemongrass into 1/2″ chunks.
In a large sauce pan over medium high heat, bring water to a simmer. Add ginger, quartered lime, citrus zest, lemongrass, and kaffir leaves.
When water begins to bubble, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and let the mixture steep, covered, for 30 minutes.
Rinse and trim pineapple. Blend, process, or press flesh to extract all the juice.
Run the steeped mixture through a single mesh strainer, then discard the root.
Return strained liquid to the pan over medium-low heat. Add pineapple juice, citrus juice, vanilla, and pinch of salt.
Stir gently and allow to fully incorporate and heat through. Taste and adjust sweet balance with a little honey or sugar if needed, (you probably won’t, but you do want to taste hefty ginger and distinct sweet – This is your concentrate, so it should taste fairly over the top).
Remove from heat and allow syrup to cool. Transfer to a glass bottle or jar and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Mix drinks in a tall glass with plenty of ice. Start with 1/4 cup syrup to 1 cup club soda; stir, taste and adjust blend to your liking. A fresh squeezed wedge of lime goes very nicely.
Refrigerated and sealed air tight, the syrup will last for a good two weeks, though it’s not likely to survive that long.
NOTE: Some folks prefer to mix fresh citrus in to the final blend, rather than incorporating it into the syrup.