originally posted at ChefsLine 5 Sep 2008

Summer has finally made it’s sultry self known here in the City by the Bay, after the standard ocean-induced foggitude. By now most of the rest of the country has already drowned it’s thirsty palate in iced tea, lemonade, Gatorade, soda pop, and ice water, but many of us San Franciscans are just getting into the summer swing of things.

Ginger Ale

There are teas, energy drinks and vitamin drinks aplenty, but sometimes the best things are made with good old raw ingredients right at home. Lemonade is easily made by the glass, and it’s as good for you as it is refreshing.

But another beverage that has real health benefits and is also yummy, but which gets less recognition, is homemade ginger ale. It’s easy to make:

Ginger Water (prepared ahead)
5 cups water
2 cups fresh ginger (finely chopped)
Boil the water, add the ginger, and reduce the heat. Let it simmer for a few minutes, then remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool for about 15-25 minutes. Pour the ginger water through a fine mesh strainer and discard the boiled ginger.

Simple Syrup (prepared ahead)
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
Simmer until clear and transparent.

Ginger Ale, by the glass
Ginger Water
Simple Syrup
Club Soda
Lemon Wedges
Fill each glass 2/3 full with ice, and add 1/2 cup of ginger water, 1/2 cup of club soda, and 1/4 of simple syrup (or more to taste). Garnish with lemon wedges.

And if it’s a cool summer cocktail that beckons you, you can always add a bit of quality whiskey, vodka or rum to the ginger ale, or you can add the ginger ale’s components (namely the ginger water, or even a ginger simple syrup) to champagne, a martini, or a mojito.