Homemade Ginger Ale Is The Dinner Party Special That Includes Everyone

With friends and family from all walks of life, it's not easy pleasing everyone at a dinner party or outdoor barbecue. Since drinks are a big part of any soirée, it can be challenging to find the perfect balance of cocktails, juice alternatives, and warm-up or cool-down beverages. But there's one thoughtful, creative option that includes all ages and personalities: homemade ginger ale.

Ginger ale made by hand elevates an ordinarily canned or bottled drink to an artisan level while providing a light, fizzy, thirst-quenching drink with fresh ingredients. It puts you in the liquid driver's seat with a handmade cocktail mixer or a standalone non-alcoholic drink that feels special and indulgent.

When making fresh ginger ale, you can choose the desired amount and type of sweetener, or just leave it to nature for a pucker-perfect version with lemony citrus flavors. One of the best parts is that the whole process is unfussy, time-friendly, and relatively affordable.

Ingredients for homemade ginger ale

Even though it has the word "ale" in the name, insinuating a type of beer, ginger ale is naturally a non-alcoholic beverage. That's what makes the festive bubbly drink perfect for an all-ages dinner party.

Since you'll be making it yourself, there's an added benefit from using real ginger root rather than artificial "ginger flavor" with added preservatives, coloring, and high-fructose corn syrup. Your guests and family members may even get a nutrition boost from the ginger root, including antioxidants, anti-inflammatory effects, and heart health, according to Healthline.

Besides that, it just tastes really good. So here are the simple ingredients you need: water, fresh ginger root, lemon peels, granulated sugar, and plain carbonated water such as club soda. If you prefer honey to sugar, just make honey water that blends well in drinks. A few ground spices are optional, but a genuine unadulterated ginger ale doesn't really need them. The following party-size process makes enough for about 12 servings of fizzy ginger ale, all based on your soon-to-be new recipe for ginger simple syrup, which you can customize over time.

Creating the ginger magic

Creating a simple syrup out of fresh ginger and lemon peels is the first and primary step. In a large stovetop pan, bring to a boil 4 to 5 cups of water, 2.5 cups of diced fresh ginger root, and a few 3 to 4-inch slivers of lemon peel. Lower to simmering and slow boil for about 8 to 10 minutes.

Then it's time to add about 1.5 cups of granulated sugar to taste, and continue the slow-roll boil for about 15 minutes. When it concentrates down to about 3 cups of liquid, that's where you want to be. Now strain the liquid into a glass container, let it cool, and you have a naturally spicy, ginger simple syrup. Finally, pour about ¼ cup of the mixture into a drinking glass, and add a cup of icy-cold club soda. You've just made your first batch of handcrafted ginger ale.

If you'd like, you can make a plain simple syrup separately with just water and sugar, and then create a "ginger water" mixture with the diced ginger root, some water, and lemon peels. This lets you mix and match until landing on your own preferred recipe. Experiment with adding spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, or chili peppers. Try using your ginger ale creation to flavor food recipes, or drink it warm for a non-alcoholic evening toddy.