It’s Friday! Time for a Moscow Mule (with homemade ginger ale)
I don’t know about y’all but I’m happy it’s Friday. It’s been a long, stressful week for me and I could use a good cocktail. My week has been packed with having lunch at various Seattle restaurants for Dine Around Seattle, searching store after store for birthday gifts, and of course, applying for and being rejected from jobs. Woe is me.
I love me a good Moscow Mule (vodka, ginger ale or ginger beer, and lime). While you can’t go wrong with anything that has vodka and is served in a really cool copper mug, the ginger ale/beer is what can really make or break the drink.
There are some really good gingery drink options available at specialty stores but I figured I’d give it a shot and try and make my own ginger ale. Can’t be that hard, right? I lucked out and found this pretty simple and delicious recipe, courtesy of Jean-Georges Vongerichten (from his book, Cooking At Home With a Four Star Chef).
Homemade Ginger Ale
- 1 pound fresh ginger, unpeeled and cut into small dice
- 2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 2 small fresh chilis, stems removed (I used Fresnos)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 cups water
- Club soda
- Lime wedges
I really like the warmth and spice of ginger so I was pretty intrigued by the addition of chilis (although who knows, maybe all ginger ale has chili peppers in it?) and I’ve never made anything with lemon grass before. In fact, I didn’t really even know what lemon grass looked like. Does it look like grass? Eh, kinda since it is green. Lemongrass vaguely resembles a large scallion or a small leek. If you’re worried about finding lemongrass, don’t worry. I found it at my local grocery store. The hardest part about this recipe was actually figuring out what lemongrass was.
All you do is chop up the ginger, lemongrass, and chilis then pulse in a food processor. Then you mix it in a big ol’ pot with the sugar and water. Bring to a boil. Then simmer for 15 minutes. I’m sure the label I missed on a piece of ginger (one of 5 labels on the same piece) gave it some extra flavor.
If you decide to make your own ginger ale, I hope you like ginger, because it will make the entire kitchen (and in my case, entire apartment) smell like ginger.
After you’ve simmered you’ll let the mixture cool, strain it, and refrigerate it. Apparently this can be stored in the fridge for weeks but it’s so awesome you’ll probably consume it all within a few days.
If you want to drink this sans alcohol, mix ¼ a cup of the ginger syrup with club soda in a glass full of ice. Garnish with wedges of lime. Unless I’m drinking something with alcohol or coffee, I only drink water. However, this was really good on its own and doesn’t even warrant the addition of booze. Best of all, it’s really appropriate to drink all year. It’s really light, crisp, and refreshing on a summer night, but the warmth and spice make it comforting on a fall evening.
- ¼ cup ginger reduction
- ¼ cup vodka (or more…)
- Club soda
Fill a glass (or preferably, a copper mug) with ice. Add first two ingredients then fill up with club soda. Lastly, spritz in some fresh lime.