Homemade Ginger Ale

The unfortunate circumstance of being a twenty-something (and trying to avoid becoming a budding alcoholic) is that almost every social occasion is supplemented with alcohol.  If you also happen to be a foodie, it’s hard to resist partnering a killer cocktail with a delicious dinner or relaxing into a long-prepped dinner with the perfectly partnered bottle of wine.

In an attempt to reduce my alcohol consumption significantly, I’ve started to think about making non-alcoholic drinks that are equally delicious and satisfying to partner with my meals. Happily, it has worked splendidly and has eliminated that wine-buzz, food coma, I-don’t-have-any-energy-left-to-do-the-dishes feeling.

Though in the case that I am ready for a yummy cocktail, I will certainly consider putting a little whiskey, vodka or rum in one of these to ‘wow’ a guest, or myself. 🙂


Homemade Ginger Ale
yields: 1 drink
6 oz. club soda or seltzer water
1 oz. ginger simple syrup
1/2 lime, cut into 3 wedges
6-8 sprigs of mint

In a glass, start to build the drink with the ginger syrup. Squeeze limes and drop into glass. Add mint leaves and muddle. Add enough ice to fill the glass. Top with soda. Either stir with a long spoon or pour into another glass & back to the original glass to mix. Garnish with a lime wedge or wheel.



Ginger Simple Syrup

We are a mere two days away from the summer solstice! This means that, unfortunately, the days will be getting shorter but we are now into the season that (especially in the midwest) has incredible sunsets & awe-worthy rainstorms and thunderstorms. Yesterday was one such occasion where thunder was roaring and lighting crackling in the sky. Rain came down like sheets, blowing like fabric in the wind. It was a much needed break from the stifling humidity, providing a slight chill to the ever-increasing warmth of the summertime air.

I always thought it would be fun to make dark & stormys when a storm like that blew in and to just sit & sip with someone you love. However, I don’t have anyone like that so in the spirit of the idea, I made ginger simple syrup instead for when the time comes, perhaps I’ll be ready.


Ginger Simple Syrup

1.5 c. water
1 c. sugar
about two inches of ginger root

With a knife or peeler, peel the skin from the ginger and roughly chop. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the peels, chopped ginger root, water, and sugar. Heat to a boil and let boil for 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure no crystals form. Transfer to a glass jar or container to cool, leaving the gingers pieces in the syrup for 2-4 hours. Strain the ginger out before using and refrigerate.



Sparkling Stone Fruit Cocktail

Happy Fourth of July! In search for a summer cocktail that would be appropriate for the fourth, I thought about mojitos, sours, and juleps. I considered sangria and punch. I didn’t want to embark upon the full-day of drinking that can accompany the fourth, but rather was looking something light & bubbly. I finally settled on a recipe I adapted slightly from Middle West Spirits. I can’t say I really succeeded in creating a drink that felt ‘light’ but it was delicious and using a Stone Fruit vodka seemed to compliment the tart cherries bubbling away on the stove bound for hand pies.


Sparkling Stone Fruit Cocktail

1 oz. OYO Stone Fruit Vodka
2-3 tsp. simple syrup
4 dashes Angostura bitters
4 oz. Brut champagne

First, add the simple syrup, bitters, and vodka to the bottom of a glass. Stir to combine.


Top off with Brut champagne


And garnish with a cherry! Delicious & dangerously strong. Be careful with these! 😉