Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Kiddie Cocktail Time: Ginger-ale

In light of my recent discovery that all of my once favorite beverages, such as Pilsner Urquell and Knob Creek do not go with chemo, I've been trying to bring back a little excitement into my drink-deprived life by investigating the making of syrups.

Yes, I could buy soda-pop, or the insipid corn-syrup flavored liquid candy which is marketed as such. When I was a kid, you could go to any gas station, and there it was: the Coke machine, a humming, steel megalith wearing an enticing veil of condensation. For 25 cents, (at least in 1965), it would give you a tiny Coke, in a returned (not recycled) bottle as polished and blue as seaglass. It too would be covered with a fog of cool droplets. You cracked open your tiny Coke with an opener on the side of the machine. It tasted so good it hurt, as the carbonation and "secret ingredients" of the searing brown liquid (Some folks unclogged drains with warm Coca Cola) hit your soft palate. Then you tasted the sweetness, the clean sweetness of cane sugar, which blended perfectly with the slightly bitter back-taste of cola and those "secret ingredients." Refreshing, so refreshing.

But, most things were better in 1965. Except civil rights, the cold war, Vietnam... but still, Coke was damn good back then.

Last week, I had lunch at the Custom House, a restaurant located in the hotel where I had my final bourbon as a single woman. The name has changed, and the restaurant has been extensively remodeled, but there it was: the bar where I sat in my wedding dress and threw one down with Laurie and Marjie. Miss you, ladies. When I asked about kiddie cocktails, the barman recommended the house homemade ginger ale. I've used his hints and swiped a few more off of the internet for my own brew. It packs a punch, so give to real kiddies with caution.

Ginger Ale


2 cups water
2 cups sugar
2 cups fresh ginger, peeled and cut into coin-sized slices
Club soda
Lime or lemon wedges

Boil 2 cups peeled and sliced fresh ginger in two cups water for five minutes. Allow to cool and steep for 20 minutes.

Strain ginger slices out, and bring ginger-infused water to a boil over medium heat. Slowly stir in two cups of sugar (or less, depending on thickness and taste preferences). Cook until texture thickens slightly, about five minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Some recipes recommend straining in a fine sieve to remove sediment, but I like the murky, medicinal quality of its appearance.

To make ginger-ale, pour over ice in a glass. Start with 1/4 c to for an ice-tea sized glass, and more to taste. Squeeze in two lime or lemon wedges, and fill the rest of the glass with club soda or sparkling water. Spicy and refreshing!

*additional spices can include cloves, a cinnamon stick, Asian anise/liquorice, and, per the barman at the Custom House, bay leaf and cayenne pepper.


Jagmenace said...

Sounds delightfully refresshing. I just saw on Consumerist today (http://consumerist.com/consumer/chinese-poison-train/ginger-from-china-laced-with-illegal-poisonous-pesticides-284452.php)
that we are supposed to beware of Chinese ginger now. I don't think you need anything else producing "flu-like symptoms like nausea and headache." Yikes.

The Fifty Foot Blogger said...

Gah! Is nothing safe any more? What are they doing to it, creating some crazy genetically modified Frankenginger?

The Fifty Foot Blogger said...

OK, just read the article, which warns:
Monitors with the state Department of Pesticide Regulation detected the presence of aldicarb sulfoxide, which is not approved for use on ginger in California.

Signs of aldicarb poisoning in humans usually appear within the first hour after exposure, producing flu-like symptoms such as nausea, headache and blurred vision.

Of course, I'm experiencing this anyway, so I won't know the dif. But thanks for the head's up!

Linda said...

are you not allowed to drink alcohol or does it make you sick? well, probably Ativan is better anyway.

The Fifty Foot Blogger said...

Ativan is pretty damn good. But, I'd still like to have a drink. Beer and liquor make me feel terrible, although I can tolerate about half a glass of red wine every 24 hours.