When it comes to my beverage of choice I’m usually a water drinker, but when I eat out one of the few exceptions I make is when I see ginger ale on a menu. Most people don’t understand my obsession (which I admit is a little weird), and actually, my ordering ginger ale usually invites questions like do you have a stomachache, or are you 90? (Let's hope the answer to at least the second question is fairly obvious, lol!) It's totally worth the ridicule though; for me ginger ale’s crisp refreshing flavor is second to none, which is why I’ve been dying to make a homemade version (it’s not often I can get my hands on ginger ale made with fresh ginger!).
I’ve always thought of ginger ale as a festive drink, which makes it a perfect choice for this time of year. And since Mike and I don’t drink alcohol, it’s a great alternative beverage for us to ring in the New Year with (also great for the kiddies, by the way!). To make it, I infused ginger syrup with rosemary but you could use just about any herb or spice you like, such as mint, cinnamon, clove, etc. (or feel free to just make plain ginger syrup if you prefer). Also, you could experiment with other sweeteners, such as honey or maple syrup.
(Yield: About 1 ⅔ c rosemary-ginger syrup to make ginger ale)
2 oz fresh ginger (a piece about 3 to 4-inches)
1 small spring fresh rosemary, stems discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
2 c cold water
¾ c sugar
Seltzer water, chilled
Finely grate the ginger (peel and all) on a microplane or in a food processor. In a medium saucepan, combine ginger, rosemary, cold water, and sugar. Bring up to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer 15 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and discard solids; chill. To serve, pour 1 to 2 TB (more or less to taste) rosemary-ginger syrup into a glass and fill the rest of the glass up with chilled seltzer water.