How to Make Soda Pop: Ginger Ale
Ginger ale, or ginger beer, is sweet, slightly spicy and totally refreshing on a hot summer’s day. We started making this last month when the temperatures soared to 40C. At the time, we were experimenting with making fruit wine, or country wine, from fresh cherries. The process of making wine and soda is almost the same in the initial stages. More on our wine experiment coming soon.
Yeast is added to a flavored sugary liquid to create the carbonation in the soda. The yeast eats the sugar and produces carbon dioxide (aka bubbles). Before fermentation occurs and to keep this a nonalcoholic drink, you slow the yeast down by putting it in the refrigerator. I use wine yeast, which is inexpensive (less than $1.00 per packet) and readily available at any wine or beer brewing shop. Amazon also sells it. (10 Packs of Lalvin Dried Wine Yeast EC 1118).
I use a recycled plastic juice bottle to hold the soda. This is really to safeguard the carbonation process during the first 24-48 hours. You could use glass, but you risk the glass bottle exploding if the carbon dioxide is produced too much too quickly (like in a really warm room). I’ve never had a bottle explode, but I’d recommend putting it in a cupboard or a box just to be on the safe side. (I used to brew beer back in university and we had quite a few beer bottles explode in our kitchen. Nowadays, I see bottles for home-brewing beer are made of plastic. Great idea! Exploding bottles are no fun.) Plastic works well because it’s more flexible than glass. The bottle will bulge as the bubbles form.
I like my ginger ale dry and with a strong ginger flavor. Taste as you go along and adjust accordingly. Commercial ginger ale is much sweeter in comparison. Both adults and kids alike love it. You can use this same method to create different types of soda. I’ll be posting a few more soda recipes on here soon. Let us know how yours turns out!
Here is a really simple recipe for homemade ginger ale or ginger beer. Adjust the sweetness according to your taste. Garnish with lemon and enjoy on a hot day!
- 1 1/2 liters water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 thumb-size piece of fresh ginger
- 1/4 tsp champagne yeast
- 1 1/2 liter plastic bottle (recycled juice or pop bottle works well)
- Pour the water into a medium-sized saucepan. Place over high heat and bring to a boil.
- Remove the water from the heat. Stir in the sugar until it dissolves.
- Grate the ginger into the pot. Cover the pot with a lid and let it sit until warm to touch.
- Pour the ginger tea mixture into a plastic bottle. Add the yeast to the bottle. There should be only a little space between the top of the bottle and the lid. Add a little bit of water, if necessary. Seal tightly.
- Place in a cupboard* at room temperature and do not open for 24-36 hours. The bottle will begin to bulge as the yeast produces carbon dioxide. (I've never had a bottle explode, but if you are nervous about it, place your bottle in a box.)
- After 24-36 hours, put your soda in the fridge. (The cool temperature will slow down the production of CO2.)
- Serve with slices of lemon and lots of ice. After opening, the bubbles will last for almost a week.
Trackback from your site.