Notes from Windward: #66

Virgil's update -- June 7th

      So today began an experiment with home made soda. My first recipe was for ginger ale, something I had attempted once or twice while in college. I adopted the recipe from a book i brought from home, "Homemade Root Beer Soda & Pop" by Stephen Cresswell. His recipe was for several gallons to be bottled in glass 12 oz containers. Fearing expolsions, which are possible with high sugar drinks, I decided to use a plastic two liter bottle. After consulting the book and our kitchen I came to the revised recipe that follows:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • aproximately 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • aproximately 1 oz. (couple of large nodules) ginger
  • teaspoon yeast

      Grate ginger finely and boil in pot with lemon juice and about 1 liter water (this gets the flavor of the ginger out of the root). Once the water reaches boiling turn the pot off and let it cool. In the mean time add get the brown sugar into the 2 liter bottle and dissolve the yeast in about 1/2 water to wake the little buggers. Then pour the boiled material into the two liter bottle (with the help of a funnel) and add cold water to bring it to 3/4 full. Wait til the bottle cools to warm not hot (I speed this along by placing the bottle in a tub of cold water that reached half way up the bottle).

Virgil compounding a batch of home-made ginger ale

       Once the bottled has cooled add the yeast and fill the bottle to just past the start of the tapering. Let sit at room temperature for a 6 hours or so and then chill and enjoy.

      This recipe produced a drink that was spicy but not overpowering. The brown sugar went well with the ginger and produced a well balanced taste. It also contained much ginger pulp which I will go to some length to make sure is finer next time (although the ginger can be screened completely out I think this is unecessary and may detract from the overall flavor). It was also left for to long to age producing an overlly carbonated bottle ( i.e. fountain).

      This is very much a recipe in development, and I am sure that the Windwardians are going to be looking foreward to taste the new batches in the upcoming days. I also hope to do some quick math to find out aproximately how much this home made drink costs compared to commercial varities. Lastly I am hoping that if the drink becomes popular enough I can start inoculating new batches with the yeast in the prevoius batch saving a step in the process. So raise a glass to many more great experiments.


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