Homemade Ginger Ale

I rarely drink soda but if I do, I love ginger ale.

There’s something about it that just makes me feel better and more settled if I’m feeling a little off.

Homemade Ginger Ale (vegan, GF) averiecooks.com

On airplanes, it’s a must-have. And when I was pregnant, I lived on it, along with saltines.

When I saw Lindsay’s May Kitchen Challenge to make your own, I jumped on board.

I love a good DIY challenge and make everything from homemade peanut butter to vanilla extract to mustard to hot fudge, and figured why not ginger ale.

Homemade Ginger Ale (vegan, GF) averiecooks.com

It’s very simple to make and almost a work-free recipe, the best kind.

Make a simple syrup with water, sugar, and freshly grated ginger. Pour the strained simple syrup into bottles filled with tap water, lemon juice, a pinch of active dry yeast, shake, and let it sit on your counter for two or more days.

Homemade Ginger Ale (vegan, GF) averiecooks.com

The yeast ferment the mixture and in the process, carbon dioxide (carbonation) is created, otherwise known as fizz.

It’s no where as fizzy as storebought ginger ale, but I didn’t expect it to be like cracking open a fizz-tastic can of Diet Coke. I knew from brewing homemade kombucha that it’s not the norm to have a fizz-fest.

Homemade Ginger Ale (vegan, GF) averiecooks.com

You can ferment longer than two days, and in the process, more fizz will be created. You’ll also be closer to creating ginger beer, rather than ginger ale. As days pass in the fermentation process, the yeast eat any available sugar, create sugar alcohols as a byproduct, the beverage becomes less sweet, and contains more alcohol.

The mention of it containing alcohol comes with a huge caveat because there’s more alcohol in a few tablespoons of vanilla extract than in a glass of ginger ale or kombucha. And a swig of cough medicine has far more alcohol than any of them.

Homemade Ginger Ale (vegan, GF) averiecooks.com

I largely adapted an Alton Brown recipe and although it’s really good, it doesn’t taste like commercial ginger ale, such as Canada Dry or Schweppes. It reminds me of sake with rice wine undertones. I feel like I’m in a sushi restaurant when sipping it. If you like sake, you’ll love this stuff.

I was expecting more of a ginger pop, because I used slightly more ground ginger than Alton called for, but it was still quite mild. If you’re a ginger fiend and love really intense ginger, you could likely double the grated ginger amount.

It would be strong, and far more intense than commercial ginger ale, yet addictively pleasant. Spicy food and food that has natural heat makes me want more once I have a taste.

Homemade Ginger Ale (vegan, GF) averiecooks.com

I can envision infusing the ginger ale with other flavors, from rose water to lemon zest to vanilla stevia. There’s almost nothing off limits, depending on the flavor profile you’re going for.

How cool will it be when you have guests over and you can ask them if they’d like some homemade ginger ale. Or tell them their cocktail was mixed with homemade ginger ale. They’ll confuse you for Martha Stewart.

Bottoms up.

Homemade Ginger Ale (vegan, GF) averiecooks.com

Homemade Ginger Ale

Making homemade ginger ale is nearly work-free, relying on yeast to ferment the mixture, thereby creating carbonation and fizz. Between the freshly grated ginger and slight yeasty taste, the ginger ale reminds me of sake. The ginger ale is great on it’s own, or feel free to infuse other flavors into it. Serve it at room temp, chilled, over ice, or as the mixer for your favorite cocktail.

Did you make this recipe?

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 to 2 ounces finely grated fresh ginger (I used almost 2 ounces, about 1/3 cup, it’s very juicy and wet)
  • 6 ounces granulated sugar (about 3/4 cup)
  • 7 1/2 cups water (almost 2 liters or 2 quarts)
  • 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used 4 tablespoons)

Directions:

  1. Combine the ginger, sugar, and 1/2 cup water in a 2-quart saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, cover, and allow to steep for 1 hour.
  2. Pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer set over a 2-cup measuring cup with a pour spout (makes it easier to transfer). Press down to really get all of the juice out of the ginger. It’s very juicy and keeps releasing even when you think it’s done, so be sure to really press it out well. Discard ginger solids or use for something else.
  3. Pour the syrup into a clean 2-liter bottle (I used two one-quart glass jars (each quart holds 4 cups).
  4. Add the yeast, lemon juice, and remaining 7 cups of water. (Because I used 2 jars, each jar got 1/16th teaspoon yeast and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice)
  5. Cap the jar(s), gently shake to combine, and leave the jars at room temperature for 48 hours. Open and check for desired amount of carbonation. After 48 hours, my mixture was nicely fizzed, but I let it continue to ferment for another two days (4 days total) to develop more fizz and in the process, it takes on more of a ginger beer than ginger ale flavor.
  6. Once you achieve desired amount of carbonation and flavor, refrigerate the ginger ale, which dramatically slows the rate of fermentation, thereby slowing the amount of carbonation created.
  7. Because my ginger ale was quite foamy at the top of the bottle with yellow specks from the lemon juice, I skimmed them off before serving over ice.
  8. Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Alton suggests opening the bottle at least once a day to let out excess carbonation, however I have gone 3 days without opening the refrigerated bottles with no adverse effects; use common sense.

Adapted from Alton Brown

Only Eats

Related DIY Recipes:

Homemade Kombucha (also here and here) – I drink some kombucha almost daily. It makes me feel alive, better, and healthier overall. It’s loaded with more probiotics ounce for ounce that just about anything else and I love the taste

Vegan Coconut Milk Kefir– (Countertop No-Cook Recipe) – Kefir make with coconut milk is my favorite kind. It has the flavor profile of coconut milk yogurt, with just a slight tang, in liquid form

Homemade Horchata (Vegan, GF, Soy-Free) – Make on in blender and ferment on countertop overnight

Homemade Balsamic Reduction

Homemade Baileys Irish Cream – Make in blender in literally 30 seconds and it’s a dead-ringer for the real thing

Homemade Honey Roasted Butterscotch White Chocolate Peanut Butter – My favorite peanut butter ever, and it takes 5 minutes to make

10-Minute Homemade Hot Fudge (GF) – Better than any storebought I’ve ever had and so easy

Homemade Vanilla Extract – Costs pennies on the dollar to make, and it’s essentially work-free

Do you like ginger ale? Ever brewed or fermented something?

Favorite thing to make at home and DIY?

93 comments on “Homemade Ginger Ale”

  1. Cool. Jason loves ginger ale. It’s been sooo long since I’ve had it actually. I remember liking it as a kid until I had it too often when I was sick – basically sick a lot so I was given lots of ginger ale and/or 7-up. So now there’s that fun association!

  2. I’ve always wanted to try this, I bet it tastes incredible. I’d make a Dark ‘n Stormy with it :)

  3. I love this SO much. My husband is a HUGE ginger ale lover and I honestly never thought to use yeast to get the ferment and fizzle. What a wonderful idea and I LOVE this challenge! Fantastic!

  4. You know we dont get ginger ale in India, so a big thanks for sharing this recipe. :)

  5. I LOVE ginger ale. If I could only have one kind of soda the rest of my life, that would be my pick. I have done a “homemade” version MANY years ago (10 maybe?) by making a ginger syrup and then mixing it with soda water, but never a real fermented version like this. I’ve been into making water kefir lately (with the water kefir grains and all that) and I usually add ginger to it when I drink it.

    I am all about fermenting stuff and DIY everything that I can. As long as it is cost and time effective, I’m gonna DIY. DIM? Whatever.

  6. I have been wanting to try making ginger ale for a while! I sounds like great fun!

  7. Oh, how I love ginger ale and ginger…everything! Thanks for sharing this great recipe, Averie. Oh, if you love ginger…I hope you’ll check out my recent Cinco de Mayo recipe for Coconut Ginger Lime Margaritas. The simple syrup starts with coconut water, sweetened with agave nectar and infused with fresh ginger and whole black peppercorns. A new tasty twist! Pinning your Homemade Ginger Ale to group board! xo

  8. Thanks for sharing this! Ginger ale is my favorite soda, and my go to natural flavor when making soda with my soda stream. I’m going to try this and compare.

  9. Although I am a huge fan of ginger ale, I don’t like the natural stuff. It taste too much like ginger for me if that makes sense. But this ginger ale would taste great in a cocktail!

  10. I bet the fresh ginger makes this amazing!

  11. So many wonderul recipes I would have never thought to make on my own before. Averie Cooks is a DIY cooking blog, seriously. Hot fudge, Bailey’s, and now gingerale. While I depend on gingerale when my stomach is hurting, I actually love to drink it when I’m feeling great too! It’s a win-win, a cure-all, and is so refreshing with a squeeze of lime on a hot day. I hardly ever drink soda and never liked it as a kid. I would always ask or water (hello, boring). But I can’t get enough gingerale. My other love? Fresca. So good!

    • Fresca..havent had it in years but yes, so good. As a kid I used to drink Squirt which also has that sort of lime-ish citrus-y vibe. And yea, just call me Laura Ingalls Wilder, out here on the prairie DIY’ing everything I can :)

  12. I need to try it out, I like ginger alle, but I’ve never tried to make it at home. Interesting idea :)

  13. Ginger ale was always my soda of choice growing up, though I haven’t had any soda for probably ten years. I can imagine that this would be amazing with all of the fresh ginger, and just might convince me to try soda again!In fact, I think this would be a great mother’s day treat.

  14. This looks really good. I love the pictures of the fresh ginger!

  15. Mmmm ginger ale is one of my favorite cocktail mixers! I usually don’t add too much though because most store bought ginger ale is too sweet for me, it would be great to try making it at home so I could control the amount of sugar in it. Wonderful idea! And beautiful photos, too!

  16. Love Ginger Ale! Will have to try this homemade version!

  17. So funny — I, too, lived on ginger ale and saltines and the occasional can of tuna while pregnant. I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum, like Kate Middleton, for my entire 9 months. I got SOME relief from a medication which the FDA has since yanked off the market for no good reason, but even with that mediation, when I delivered I was 20 lbs LIGHTER than when I got pregnant. Needless to say my now-adult son was my only child, lol!

    • I had H.G. too. It was horrible. I was.so.sick.for.9.months!!! I got relief…from…delivering my baby. Then, I finally wasn’t sick anymore and I was the same with you with the weight. And it’s a good thing I had only planned on ever having 1 child :)

  18. Wow! I love the simplicity of this! My husband would really enjoy this!

  19. I’m not a soda person either but I’d gladly take a glass of ginger ale any day! And who knew it was actually “make-able” right at home?!

  20. You can make your own ginger ale!? Perfect! I too lived on it when I was pregnant. Ugh!

  21. Now that is super perfect! Homemade ginger ale??? This is what I need. I seriously drink ginger ale by the cases.

  22. Averie, great minds think alike – I am a ginger ale freak! I buy the stuff from Jamaica at Trader Joe’s but now I cannot wait to try your recipe! BTW, Happy Mother’s Day –

  23. Ahh–this was ready today and is darn good!! It’s also not lasting very long. I like ginger but it can easily be too strong for me. I used 1/3 cup as written and love it, so someone who is a huge ginger fan could probably use a little more. My husband agreed the taste is reminiscent of sake and suggested I look for one of those huge pickle jars to brew a BIG batch in!!

    • Your husband has a good idea :) They sell 2-gallon glass jars or 1 to 1.5-gallon at Target in the housewares section for 14.99 and 19.99 At least they used to b/c when I first started brewing kombucha, I needed to get something like that (and multiple ones) and that was where I got mine. Or BB&Beyond or similar.

      And if you let it go for 4-5 days or a week (like I did), it’s very ale-like. More ale than soda; your hubs would probably like that!

      Glad the 1/3 cup worked out for you. It’s so hard measuring by volume for something like that which is why I gave both a weight and a volume measure. Plus, I do think some ginger is just much more robust than others. Glad it all worked out!

  24. Oh gosh, I never thought of making homemade ginger ale! (Canadian Dry is my go-to upset stomach drink.) No doubt this homemade version is even better!

  25. Oh, I am betting that this tastes amazing!

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