Homemade Ginger Ale for Summer Evenings

Summer is here. Cool off and take refuge from the sun with some homemade ginger ale, perfect for sitting by the pool, with rum as a cocktail or with dinner on the patio. (Note to self: finish patio construction.)

Most days, my mornings are hectic. I get up to the sound of Ole’s alarm going off. I push him until he gets up, and then I sit in bed thinking about how responsible it would be of me to get up with him and start my day. Instead, I try to savor the low spot in the middle of our ancient mattress without two bodies occupying it, and when he comes to kiss me goodbye, I begrudgingly rip myself from between the sheets and start my day.

I walk through the living room and over to my desk, flipping my computer on in hopes of answering a few emails and getting things set up for the day before the four kids I call mine roll out of their beds and start begging for breakfast. This lasts for ten minutes before a child emerges with tussled hair and bunchy pajamas twisted every which way.

Work will wait a few minutes…err, hours more. Breakfast is made and served. School lunches are packed. Kids are sent off to the bus and others are busied with crafts or set about as engineers of the ever-changing wooden railroad set. I settle in to work: coffee in one hand, mouse in another, clicking and sipping.

The phone rings, which often has me giving the present children dagger eyes in an attempt to threaten them should they decide now is the perfect time to squeal and give away the fact that I work 60 or so hours a week from a desk situated in my living room with my kids at my side. This time, though, it’s the school.

I wonder if it’s my eldest, calling to tell me what homework assignment she forgot, but with only four days left of school, homework has ceased. When I hear the school health professional on the other line, I worry that my kindergartener is sick, as he was just home the day before for that very reason. “Kjell fell off the slide.” I pause, wondering if this is a courtesy call, which I’m used to receiving, as someone has a bit of a head issue.

This particular call, however, will mean eight hours in the hospital, four spent juggling a crying son, a quiet four-year-old, a curious two-year-old and a hungry 7-month-old niece as we get x-rayed and splinted and sent to the orthopedist for surgery and a proper cast. This particular call will signify the end of summer days at the beach, family bike rides, baseball season and soccer fields all before they begin.

Commencing Operation Summer Fun-in-a-Cast for the Olmanson clan.

Step 1: Buy a good amount of ginger and then a little bit more. Look for ginger that has smooth light brown skin.

Peel it. Chop it up.

To a pot, add the ginger cubes, water and the peel from about 1/2 a large lime, avoiding the pith as much as possible. Boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. Add in sugar and simmer again until it reduces.

After your syrup is done, remove it from the heat and let it cool. Strain out the pieces of ginger and the peel.

When it is room temperature, it can be stored in a bottle or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

When you’re ready for ginger ale, pour 1/4 cup or so of ginger ale over ice. Add one cup of club soda on top.

Drinks, check. Nothing like a glass of homemade ginger ale to get the creative juices flowing.

A 15′ pool for the broken boy doesn’t hurt either. (Um, there is no question why this child is the one in a cast, that one up there posing triumphantly on the slide. Also, we are now accepting any and all bread bag donations.) Truth: I was relieved when they said it was Kjell’s arm looked mangled. Mangled arms can be put back together. Bizarre neurological episodes are more frightening.

Besides, I happen to enjoy sitting in my swimsuit and watching my kids jump into a bright blue pool in the middle of my yard as I sip on homemade sodas. And I have a feeling the kids enjoy it, too.

Bonus for the “Big Kids” (otherwise known as adults): A shot of rum makes this a fabulous cocktail, and ginger syrup on its own can be added to several other mixers and liquors for spicy summer drinks. The fun is never ending, even after small heads are resting on pillows and it’s just Ole sitting next to me at the end of a summer’s day.

3 cups fresh ginger root
1 tablespoon lime peel
6 cups water
1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar or sucanat
club soda
lime wedges

Peel ginger root and chop into small chunks. Add ginger root, lime peel and water to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, turn down to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add in sugar and continue to simmer for 10 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and liquid has reduced down to 3 1/2 cups or so.

Turn off the burner and let the ginger syrup cool. Strain out ginger chunks and then pour cooled syrup into a bottle or other airtight storage container. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

To make ginger ale:
Pour approximately 3-4 tablespoons ginger syrup over ice. Add 1 cup club soda. Stir lightly to combine and serve with a wedge of lime. Sip and enjoy.

Makes 16-18 servings.
Copyright © Food for My Family.

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  1. Oh, I’m so sorry about the break! That stinks. At least he can get wet.
    My husband makes ginger tea in much this same way. He uses it with a simple syrup, lime and dark rum to make a Jamaican Firefly. Also nice.

  2. This made my heart hurt. I feel your pain… on so many levels! And I had to chuckle at the *bonus* at the end. Me likes.

  3. P.S. We are SOOO coming over for a swim date. 🙂

    • You are so welcome to come over and sit in our grass. Maybe we’ll even have the patio in by the summer…if you come late enough. 😉

  4. Yum. Thanks Shaina. I can’t wait to make this. I love ginger ale…so do my kids (minus the rum! yum!)

  5. So bummed to hear about Kjell – and the break. Nooooo. Fantastic read, however, and even better recipe. Hugs!

  6. I cannot WAIT to try this! I am so excited to do it! I know my whole family will love it!

  7. Oh man, it never ends for you guys!
    Will be stocking up on ginger this week, I love this concept.

  8. I looove gingerale, and I love that this doesn’t require a machine! I’ll definitely be trying it 🙂

  9. I don’t know how you do it! You’ve had quite a time recently, I hope things settle down for you and you can all enjoy a peaceful if somewhat impaired summer.

  10. Shaina, an interesting glimpse onto a day in your life with 4 kids. So sorry to hear your son got hurt. I bet that blue pool & this ginger ale are totally addictive. Hope he heals up quick!

  11. oh my! So sorry about your son…that’s the call no mom wants to get 🙁
    BUT the ginger ale is a total winner, can’t wait to try!!

  12. Aww sad about your son 🙁

    BUT, I’m in love with the idea of making my own gingerale! This speaks to me! 🙂

  13. Sorry about your son! He looks like he’s feeling better though now. Love the ginger ale recipe

  14. Sorry about your son! I am sure this ginger ale cheered him up:)

  15. Sorry to hear about the little man’s tumble, looks like he’s in good spirits though… And speaking of good spirits, I love this Homemade Ginger Ale. Had never thought of making it myself!

  16. Well stinky poo! You need to sit Kjell down and let them know that these hospital shenanigans need to stop. Now go spike your ginger ale and relax.

  17. Sorry about your son! This ginger ale sounds fabulous. I’ve never made it at home

  18. we just made our own ginger ‘beer’ for the first time evah – will never go back to buying bottled again!! it’s very concentrated so a little goes a long way – it is sooooo good!!

  19. Oh, Shainy Banainy. I love this post The writing is so poetical and I heart you for sharing so entirely about your week. Love you!

  20. I am so sorry to read about your son but happy that he seems fine and you are certainly making the best of it. Your children are so beautiful!

  21. Oh my Shaina! Thank goodness he’s o.k….hope you got to enjoy a few of those *big kids* cocktails! Cheers to summertime!

  22. Aww….he looks like he is on the mend, though….must have been that homemade ginger ale! You are super mom…you know that, right?

    And the grown up version? Yes, please!

  23. Me again. I just made the ginger ale for a big outdoor concert event we are attending tomorrow with friends…got the rum too! Oh my. Delicious. Thanks for sharing this recipe…I’m not sure I will ever go back to regular gingerale again! My husband and I will be enjoying this all summer! Thanks for giving me a unique and fun recipe to bring, Shaina!

  24. I’m so sorry to hear about your son’s broken arm – poor guy! Hopefully he is cheered up by this ginger ale which, by the way, I will definitely be making. I adore ginger ale and can’t imagine anything better than a cold glass of a homemade version.

  25. I still can’t imagine how horrid that week was for you, Shaina! Ugh! Here’s to getting all the drama over before summer officially started 😉

  26. Fantastic recipe! Thanks for sharing! Sorry to hear about the broken arm, I hope he heals quickly!

  27. Broken arms are no fun 🙁

    This looks so delicious. My son is nuts about Ginger Ale, and since I’m “too strict” and won’t let him drink soda… I’ll have to surprise him with this sometime this summer!

  28. Looks oh so tasty and I’ve been reading about all the good purposes for ginger. I’ve bookmarked this so I can try it soon.

  29. Such a lovely idea for summer…I am in such a homemade drink kind of mood these days.

  30. wonderful recipe! somehow it took me a very long time to realize that ginger ale is made from ginger. Now I guess your recipe finally proves this point completely.

  31. Homemade ginger syrup is James’s absolute favorite. He puts it on everything! Just last night he made a Dark & Stormy with ginger syrup, rum, and key lime juice. I’m glad to know Kjell is doing well despite the broken arm. I know exactly where he gets his ‘come back’ spirit from.

  32. Shaina, you’re a genius. I want some homemade ginger ale now. Hope your little guy feels better. And I hope he gets to do some fun things before the summer is over.

  33. I’m making this for a book club formation meeting! Thanks so much for the recipe. I have a lot of good food recipes for these lunch meetings, but I always seem to be at a loss when it comes to the beverages. This sounds perfect.

  34. I love this recipe and will make it this evening. The perfect summer drink with my new favorite ingredient – GINGER. Check out my ginger recipe….it’s not a drink but, it’s equally as refreshing on a summer afternoon: http://www.myjudythefoodie.com/?s=mango+chicken

  35. I love gingerale so much that I can’t help but love this idea! 🙂 Perfect for summer!!

  36. It looks so good! Love to try it later!

  37. I make this all the time now , When my husband buys ginger from the store , I know he wants homemade gingerale lol!

  38. I made this with a friend this weekend. It was much more simple than I ever thought. Thanks for sharing your ideas.


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