All Hail Ariana’s Regal Ginger-Ale

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On my journey into health and wellness, I discovered the anti-inflammatory superstar ginger - ‘gingembre’ in french, how lovely? Since my cooking style is more Middle Eastern, Italian, French and new American, I was not inclined to cook very much with ginger. I wanted a way to obtain the full health benefits, and enjoy the unique, pungent, aromatic flavor in a way to satisfy my picky palette. I have made ginger tea, but I was craving something more refreshing. Having a juicer in your home is empowering! When empowered one ponders “what can I do with this power”? And with my powerful Breville juicer, Sodastream seltzer maker and fresh ginger root (a super food with super powers), I decided to create Ginger Ale from scratch. This Ginger ‘ale’ drink heals any ‘ail’-ment and is so delicious- you will simply adore it! I will make it easy for anyone to create ginger ale at home letting the ‘golden ginger shine’ and the liquid ‘sparkle’. 

Ginger has a rather interesting history dating back over 5,000 years. It was used by healers in Southeast Asia to combat indigestion and joint pain. In the middle ages Ginger was brought to the Mediterranean and Europe by traders. It quickly became renowned as a very expensive commodity. In the nineteenth century ginger beer became all the rage, and in the mid 1800’s a non-alcoholic version was created for children and people who didn’t like alcoholic beverages. Ginger ale became the world’s favorite soda and was an art in and of  itself. Ginger ale was sold in a range of colors from a light pale hue to deeper more amber golden tones. Other options were available based on strength of aroma and pungency. Ginger ales were made with a careful balance of fruit and spice. However after World War II, ginger ale became a dying artisanal trade replaced by mass produced popular cola drinks. Ginger ale became manipulated in scientific labs using artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup and all kinds of chemicals. The innocence and purity of ginger ale has been forgotten and I am looking to revive this lost art.
I never drink conventional canned ginger ale because it is over sweetened or artificially flavored. GUS cola makes a nice natural ginger ale but the freshness of making your own at home is just unparalleled. The health benefits of ginger are endless, it is really so powerful. Ginger works wonders for stomach upset, nausea, joint pain or inflammation anywhere in your body. It is an antioxidant loaded with immune-boosting vitamins and minerals. Maple syrup has a ton of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals with superpowers of its own. It is anti-bacterial, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic and an immune booster as well. Maple syrup can be quite processed, it is advisable to get grade B which maintains more of the natural compounds and retains the sap’s full spectrum of nutrients. The best maple syrup on earth was introduced to my husband and myself at the French Laundry in Napa: Blis Gourmet. We have all three truly ‘blis-ful’ varieties of their maple syrups in our fridge at all times! Their bourbon maple syrup is barrel aged to impart notes of honey, charred oak and vanilla. They also have one that is uber-infused with vanilla bean as well as a spectacular pure grade B maple syrup. These will definitely make the flavor of the ginger ale incomparable. 
 
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INGREDIENTS:
  • 6-12 pieces of Fresh Ginger Root based on how much juice you would like to yield. (When selecting ginger, the lighter the color, the younger and fresher the ginger is. Also please buy organic ginger, the thought of drinking pesticide is quite off-putting)
  • 1 sprig of fresh organic spearmint
  • Maple Syrup  (If you prefer you can sweeten using molasses, honey or agave.)
  • Sparkling water, either home made seltzer or bottled. (If you use bottled sparkling water, my most favorite is Lurisia it’s the fizziest of them all)
DIRECTIONS:
  • Rinse and cut the ginger into pieces to fit into the juicer. (Do not peel the ginger or you will lose the precious nutrients in the rind)
  • Juice the ginger.
  • Pour the juiced ginger thru a fine strainer to catch all pulp.
  • Save the extra ginger juice in a sealed airtight jar in your fridge and it can last up to a week, to make more ginger ale on a whim.
  • Prepare your own fizzy sparkling water using filtered water with soda stream seltzer maker, or skip this step if using bottled sparkling water.
  • Add 2-4 teaspoons of fresh ginger juice to 12 ounces of sparkling water for one serving. Alternatively you can add ginger juice to taste depending on how mild or spicy you prefer.
  • Add approximately one teaspoon of maple syrup or sweetener of choice. You can also gauge at the sweetness level to your liking.
  • Stir together and top with fresh spearmint chiffonades or whole leaves.
FUN OPTION:
Another fun and simple idea is to add ginger juice to fresh young coconut water, you will not need the maple syrup since the coconut water has an inherent natural sweetness. It will also make the drink flat if you do not enjoy carbonation!
Happy Drinking!
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You can even make your own ginger ale at restaurants too! Here I am at my beloved local NYC spot ABC Kitchen… I ordered sparkling water, a shot of fresh ginger and a side of maple syrup and made my own deliciousness to enjoy with my meal! I love the little beakers they brought the sides in- too cute.They made it so easy to devise my own proportions to be just right. Yum!
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