A collection of seasonal recipes and stories

ginger syrup + what to do with it

It used to be that I only bought ginger ale to mix with bourbon. But inevitably I’d come home feeling bourbon-y on a Friday night and open the fridge to discover that Chris had drunk all the ginger ale. By itself. Leaving me to drink the bourbon by itself, which I assure you is not the kind of evening you want to be a part of. And since the ginger ale in question was the fancy all-natural kind and not the high fructose corn syrup-laden Canada Dry kind, keeping us in ginger ale got to be kind of expensive.


So a few months ago, when it finally dawned on me that ginger ale was made from ginger, I started making my own ginger syrup. It’s sweet and spicy and a tiny bit lemony, with a sharp, tangy freshness that’s made it a staple in our kitchen. Really, we love it. We use it as the foundation for homemade ginger ale, of course, but its warmth and sweet-spiciness meld beautifully with so many other flavors that we find ourselves adding a splash of ginger syrup to all sorts of things:  green tea, lemonade, rum, gin, bourbon — pretty much anything in a glass.

It’s dead simple, affordable and incredibly versatile, the little black dress of the beverage world. Dress it up with citrus and booze or keep it classic with club soda. Either way — and every way in between — you want this ginger syrup in your fridge.

Ginger Syrup (and what to do with it)
adapted from Gourmet
makes 1 quart
printable recipes

1 lb. ginger root, peeled and chopped
5 cups water
1½ cups sugar
¼ tsp. salt

1) Place ginger and water in large saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Simmer partially covered for 45 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and steep for 20 minutes.

2) Strain through sieve, pressing ginger with back of spoon to extract liquid. Return liquid to pot, add sugar and salt, and heat until dissolved.

3) Chill syrup until cold.

Homemade Ginger Ale
makes 1 8-oz. drink

1/3 cup ginger syrup
2/3 cup club soda
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

Fill a glass with ice, add ingredients and stir. Adjust proportions to taste.

Variation: add 1½ oz. bourbon for a bourbon and ginger.

Ginger Lemonade
makes 1 12-oz.drink

1/3 cup ginger syrup
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup cold water

Fill a glass with ice, add ingredients and stir. Adjust proportions to taste.

Sparkling Ginger Lemonade
makes 1 12-oz. drink

1/3 cup ginger syrup
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup club soda

Fill a glass with ice, add ingredients and stir. Adjust proportions to taste.

Gingered Green Tea

Stir about 1 Tbsp. ginger syrup into a cup of green tea. Serve hot or over ice.

Dark ‘n’ Stormy

2 oz. dark rum
2 oz. ginger syrup
2 oz. club soda
lime wedge

Fill a glass with ice, add first three ingredients and stir. Garnish with lime wedge.

22 responses

  1. Beautifully written — Bravo!
    Love the recipe — do you think it will store well. Love to make batches and use over time.

    April 4, 2011 at 8:11 am

  2. Hi, Donna! The original Gourmet recipe says the syrup will keep (refrigerated) for about a week, but we’ve kept it around for at least two. The only thing to keep in mind is that the ginger flavor intensifies with time, so if you keep it longer you may have to add a bit more club soda. Or bourbon. :-)

    April 4, 2011 at 8:29 am

  3. Clare

    This stuff looks fantastic. I love ginger. Do you think it could be frozen? I couldn’t use a quart of ginger syrup in 2 weeks; I suppose I could just make less.

    April 4, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    • I don’t see why it couldn’t be frozen, but I’m not sure how that would affect the ginger flavor. I’ll freeze some of this last batch and report back.

      You could always just make less, but if it freezes well, why not make a whole bunch?

      April 4, 2011 at 12:52 pm

  4. Sharon

    Found this via a post on flickr – definitely a to do this week. As an aside, I buy a product called Ginger Tea, from Korea, which is stirred into hot or cold water. It has agar in it which makes it slightly thickened so you can spread it on toast (delicious, too). Anyway, the other ingredients are evaporated cane juice, ginger, ginger extract, honey, and tiny shreds of ginger. I have a jar in the refrigerator that has been there for at least a month without deteriorating in quality – the jar just says refrigerate after opening. So, I wonder, with all that sugar, if a week is a bit cautious.

    April 5, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    • I think a week is WAY cautious. I forgot to do the freezer test (bad blogger!) but there’s still a bit of syrup in the fridge three weeks later and it’s just fine. Gingery, but totally fine.

      April 25, 2011 at 7:05 am

  5. You can go a step further and make your own ginger ale. I tried this recipe and it came out beautifully: http://thatswhatyouthink.wordpress.com/2009/04/09/sauerkraut-ginger-ale-at-home/

    April 6, 2011 at 9:19 am

    • Oooh, yes! I would like to do that. There’s a similar recipe in Forgotten Skills of Cooking that I’d flagged, but I figured I’d work my way up to it. Thank you for the link.

      April 25, 2011 at 7:06 am

  6. Oh my goodness. I’m so glad I stumbled across your site (found you on My Rubber Boots blog)!

    Agreed – beautifully written, your photos are gorgeous, and these recipes look fantastic!!! I cannot WAIT to try the ginger syrup. I’m having people over this weekend, (and one of them is bringing some bourbon – how perfect!) so this might be the perfect time to try a batch of this syrup. I sure do love me some ginger.

    Your maple bundt cake (pan AND recipe) have inspired me as well…this is another must-try for me for sure.

    I look forward to keeping up with your site and am definitely adding your link to mine – it’s mostly gardening, but hey – we garden not just to grow, but to EAT, right?

    April 13, 2011 at 11:18 am

  7. Oops! Oh dear. I thought I found you on myrubberboots.com but I think I’m wrong – I read a lot of blog posts during the day and can’t seem to keep up with who I found where! Sorry! I’m sure glad I found you though!

    April 13, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    • Welcome! I bet it was Hitchhiking to Heaven — I feel like I saw your blog listed on Shae’s blogroll at one point recently. And yes, gardening is lovely, magical even. Hope the ginger syrup turned out well for you!

      April 25, 2011 at 7:10 am

  8. What great recipes! I haven’t had ginger ale in ages, and I’ve certainly never made but I’d love to! I adore bourbon but I usually drink it straight up and have never tried it with ginger ale before but gosh…it sounds super!!! :)

    Bet your ginger syrup would also be great frozen! What a wonderful sorbet it would make! :)

    May 4, 2011 at 12:24 am

  9. I want to try this! I love ginger and it is very good for you too. I would like to make a large batch and freeze in ice trays then pop out and put into a container in the deep freeze and have it ready just in case I run out.

    Also would be a good base for European Ginger Beer. Now to get the ginger.

    Basketry/Caning Blog
    current Post -Boiled Salad Dressing

    June 14, 2011 at 5:39 pm

  10. This sounds completely fun. We put fresh ginger in stuff we make a lot, but we don’t need the whole root and wind up throwing it away…no more!

    June 15, 2011 at 9:39 am

    • You can always freeze ginger root, too. It’s easy to peel and to grate, even when it’s frozen. No more waste!

      June 18, 2011 at 10:10 am

  11. I love a good Dark ‘n Stormy. What a fun recipe!

    June 15, 2011 at 6:35 pm

  12. martin

    Nice. Have you also tried going and extra step and fermenting it for some built-in carbonation? Add a bit of bread or ale yeast (or even some wild yeast), let it sit in a closed 2L soda bottle for a few days and you’ve got bubbly ginger ale.

    July 4, 2011 at 10:31 am

  13. Lady M

    I found your site after googleing “things to do with ginger syrup” and I love your drink ideas. I made a big batch of ginger syrup as a byproduct of making candied and crystallized ginger at home. The syrup was so lovely and gingery that I couldn’t bear to part with it and have been making myself fresh ginger tea and using it to sweeten it (Yes, I am a ginger freak.) but I wanted some new ideas to use with it. I will def try the ginger lemonade!

    Also, I wanted to address the length of storage issues that were brought up in your comments. I’m pretty sure you don’t need to freeze it. David Lebovitz says that ginger syrup can be stored in the fridge for up to a year. I’m pretty sure my 2 quarts of ginger syrup will be used in a year.
    I’ve attached the link to his EASY crystallized ginger recipe which also gives a very sweet ginger syrup as a byproduct. If you really like the sharp bite of ginger you can buy the older, tougher kind, freeze it and slice it very very thinly and only do 1 of the 2 blanches in his directions. The resultant ginger candy is sharper than regular crystalized ginger but still soft and the ginger syrup is more intense! http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/12/candied-ginger/

    January 21, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    • Oooooh, crystallized ginger! Thanks for that idea. And thanks for your thoughts on storing the syrup. The last time I made this, it hung around in the fridge for at least two months before I used it up and it was perfectly fine. I think the ginger flavor intensifies over time, but I don’t consider that a bad thing.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:13 am

  14. Wow, so many great ideas here! I recently purchased a juicer and was actually wondering if I could make ginger juice and then turn it into a syrup. This technique seems much more straightforward. Homemade ginger ale? Sign me up!

    March 12, 2012 at 12:04 am

  15. Roberta Watkins

    Lady M, I found this site the same way you did. I was going to make the suggestion until I saw that you beat me to it. Only difference is I used Alton Brown’s recipe for the candied ginger.

    April 20, 2012 at 5:05 pm

  16. Pingback: Ginger Ale — Lemon in Ginger

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