Fresh ginger ale with basil

I love the homemade ginger ale so much at Columbus’s Northstar Cafe that I had to make some of my own. Mint in my garden is sparse this year, but basil makes a fresh, unexpected substitute. This ginger syrup recipe comes from Hollywood’s Grub Restaurant via Imbibe Magazine and is outstanding for cocktails as well as ginger ale.

Ginger syrup ingredients

  • 8-10 ounces fresh ginger (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 cups water

Ginger syrup directions

  1. Peel ginger if you are saving it to eat later (see note below). Slice thinly or chop ginger into small pieces and place in medium pot.
  2. Add sugar and water to the pot and stir. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook for one hour until liquid reduces to an amber syrup.
  3. Strain the syrup through cheese cloth or a fine sieve (twice if you like) into a large jar or bottle. Refrigerate.

Ginger ale ingredients

  • Ginger syrup
  • Soda water or sparkling mineral water
  • Fresh basil (or mint)
  • Lime or lemon wedges

Ginger ale directions

  1. Fill a glass with ice, basil leaves and lime or lemon wedge. Add ginger syrup to fill 1/3 of the glass and muddle with a spoon to release juice from citrus and oil from basil.
  2. Fill rest of glass with sparkling water and serve.

Notes

  • Save the ginger from syrup-making for ginger candy, or simply refrigerate or freeze and snack on it at your leisure. It packs a punch, but it’s sweet, spicy and excellent for digestion.
  • Ginger syrup is great for cocktails too. Spike your ale with rum, bourbon or vodka, or try a sleepyhead, with orange, lemon, mint and brandy.

Here’s a link back to the post and pictures.

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