Anyone have a recipe for ginger or other homemade syrups to mix with carbonated water to make soda?
My sister uses her Sodastream all the time for plain carbonated water. I wanted to surprise her with some ginger syrup that she can mix in, and am thinking about other possibilities.
Most recipes for root beer, etc. assume you want to combine the carbonation process and flavoring through fermentation, but I really just want to make some strongly flavored syrups that are not too sweet. Any ideas? I found a reasonable-looking ginger syrup on Epicurious, but wondered if anyone had any other recipes to share. I realize that a syrup won't last particularly long, but I don't need to make more than one at a time. If it matters, I live in an area with good access to unusual ingredients.
Thanks for any suggestions.
This recipe makes a not-too-sweet, strongly flavored ginger syrup that seems to last a long time in my fridge: http://www.eatologies.com/2009/06/11/...
I have another recipe for citrus syrups that's more involved (takes a couple of days, mostly hands-off), that uses a lot more sugar but produces a syrup with lots of flavor (so you don't need a lot with your water), and it can be kept for up to a year in the fridge. I've made lemon, lime, and lemon-ginger syrups with this formula, and they've been delicious. Let me know if you're interested, and I'll type up the recipe.
there is a root beer recipe here:
I haven't gotten around to sourcing any of the root things so I haven't tried it, but it's on my to-do list.
The secret ingredient in a great ginger syrup, IMO, is lemon juice.
I just peel/slice the ginger root , simmer it in simple syrup for a while and then let it sit overnight. Add lemon juice at the end, before bottling.
re: Caitlin McGrath
I made Caitlin's ginger syrup recipe yesterday to give to friends along with a bottle of rum for Dark and Stormy drinks. It is very VERY flavourful but quite thin and not very pretty in the glass bottles. Does anyone know if I could reboil with more sugar to tame it a bit and make it syruppier? Anything I could add to make it look less like dishwater?
I added a spoonful to my tea and it was great, so I don't want to give up on it yet.
There is no reason you need to use 3c. water--just reduce the amount you use or reduce the syrup further. In general, though, I am not in favor of heavily reducing a flavor-infused syrup because all that cooking changes the flavor...unless that's what you want. In this case I would add less water to begin with to preserve more of the freshness of the citrus flavor.
Keep in mind that the viscosity of the syrup is relevant. I had a whole bunch of ginger syrup that I reduced to extra thick so it would take up less space and be more potent. It's fine, but it doesn't mix up into cold beverages as readily as thinner syrups. In sparkling water drinks, it needs quite a bit of stirring to not all just end up at the bottom of the glass.
On another note, Caitlins recipe makes me curious to know how the heck yeast can survive to do anything in straight lemon/lime juice. That's a very hostile environment, and I almost think it's just the acid and sugar that are doing the fermenting and that the yeast dies almost immediately.
Here is the recipe for lemon or lime syrups. I've also made a Meyer lemon-ginger variation, which is excellent, and I want to try a ginger-lime at some point. The fermentation step is said to intensify the fruit flavor, and these definitely have good flavor. It is the high amount of acid that makes these keepable for so long, so lower-acid juices won't work. The syrup will keep, refrigerated, for up to a year. The recipe may be halved.
2 cups freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
2 envelopes active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
4 ½ cups granulated sugar
3 cups water
Put lemon or lime juice in a 2-quart nonreactive bowl. Sprinkle yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar over the juice, then stir them in. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave at room temperature to ferment, stirring occasionally. Fermentation is achieved when the mixture no longer bubbles when stirred, and this usually takes a couple of days. The mixture will be dull and opaque and smell yeasty and not particularly like citrus; this is normal.
Line a sieve with cheesecloth and strain the mixture into a 3-quart saucepan. Add the 4 ½ cups sugar and the water, and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil until reduced to about 5 cups, then cool to room temperature and pour into jars or bottles and refrigerate.
Ginger variation: Add 4 ounces fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely grated to the juice in the fermentation step, and when you strain it, press on the solids to extract as much juice as possible. This one needs to be shaken up before using.
I just made a spiced ginger syrup with 2 c. water, 1 c. sugar, sliced ginger, 2 allspice berries, 1 blade of mace, 1 clove and a slice of habanero. It is very flavorful and perfectly suited for bourbon cocktails along with a splash of lime juice.
The ginger syrup I have made is from the book "The Art of the Bar". They simmer sliced ginger in water and sugar for quite some time, and also add some black peppercorns. I think it's pretty good, but the result is relatively subtle. I find that it's very hard to make a ginger syrup that's really strong. Adding some actual ginger juice as well as ginger syrup will help give it more "kick" when making homemade ginger-ale or ginger soda. You can grate it on a ginger grater and strain it, smash the ginger with a knife, but putting it in a juicer or Vita-mix is easier / faster if that's an option.
I am having a problem with my ginger syrup crystallizing when it cools and have a current query and response from a pro (on the Home Cooking board) about this, in case anybody else is having the same problem. Am wondering too what proportions other people are using to get a strong ginger flavor. My first batch tasted gingery but my second batch doesn't have much flavor. Ginger syrup is really nice in hot tea instead of sugar, on a cold night.
I made some ginger syrup serendipitously when I was making candied ginger slices. (Peel ginger with the edge of a spoon, make thin slices across the root, simmer until tender in simple syrup, drain and allow to dry over night, then roll the slices, which will be tacky, in granulated sugar.)
Just to see what would happen, I strained the syrup in which the ginger cooked, and kept it refrigerated, I used it to sweeten iced tea, I mixed it with seltzer, etc. It was very pleasing, and though it took me a few weeks to use it all, it never crystallized. Maybe the long, slow simmering? I don't know enough about food chemistry to answer the question - I just know it worked for me.
If you want a strong flavor, try juicing the ginger rather than / in addition to making syrup, and adding that. If it's crystalizing, it may be because the sugar cooked down too much. Because of the long cooking time required, use more water and less sugar than if you were just making a 1:1 or 2:1 simple syrup.
Also, old ginger will have a spicier flavor.
I know the original question was about a homemade syrup, and I am definitely going to try some of the ideas here, but I've recently found a good storebought one. It's made by a company called Powell and Mahoney, in MA. My Wegman's stocks several of their products, in the mixer section. The only one I've tried is Ballycastle Ginger. Ingredients are water, cane sugar, and several natural extracts--ginger, fennel, and milk thistle. There may be one other extract but I can't remember offhand.
We've been enjoying it mixed with seltzer--not too sweet, and quite gingery--I haven't tried it in tea yet.
Here's the recipe I ended up using over and over for Fresh Ginger Ale with Lemongrass (from Jean Georges Vongerichten):
1 lb fresh ginger, unpeeled and cut into small dice
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and roughly chopped
2 small fresh chiles, stems removed
1 1/2 cups sugar
I use about 1/3" -- 1/2" red chili pepper, and it is pleeeenty spicy. I followed the recipe and didn't peel the ginger, just washed it and trimmed away any gross parts. Try adding a kaffir lime leaf next time, or combining with rum or vodka if looking for a cocktail.
Makes about 1 quart--enough for at least 10 glasses
Combine the ginger, lemongrass, and chiles in a food processor and process until minced, stopping the machine and scraping down the sides, if necessary.
Place the puree in a saucepan with the sugar and 1 quart water. Boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Cool, then strain and chill.
To serve, place about 1/4 cup of the syrup in a glass full of ice. Fill with soda water; taste and add more syrup if you like. Garnish with a lime wedge, then serve.
Note: The syrup keeps for weeks, refrigerated.