Homemade Original Ginger Ale
Why I Love This Recipe
This recipe is from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig. You'll need a two quart container with a tight lid. The most difficult thing to get for this is whey, the lactobacilli you find in "cultured" dairy products like yoghurt and some sour cream. The powdered whey you can find is not alive and won't do the fermenting you need.
What I do is take a large container of plain, live-culture, yoghurt (32 oz) and wrap the yoghurt in cheesecloth. Then I tie the cheesecloth to a long handled spoon so I can suspend the yoghurt over a bowl. It takes about a day, but you'll get about a cup of whey dripping out of it. The recipe uses a fourth of a cup, so refrigerate the remainder for your next batch. But use it within a week or two, or the bacteria dies. Or you could scoop out only a fourth or half of the yoghurt container and let the rest of the culture continue to live in the yoghurt until you need it.
While it's true that at the end you no longer have a nice big chunk of yoghurt, what you do have is the smoothest, blandest cream cheese you've ever tasted. Really yummy in spreads.
The other odd ingredients in this recipe are Rapadura and sea salt. I think you can safely substitute sugar and ordinary salt. Rapadura is unbleached, untreated organic cane sugar. You can get a bag for $5.00 at Whole Foods.
You can reuse the same chopped ginger for a second and third batch of the ginger ale, but I don't recommend it for a fourth.
Don't be concerned about it being alcoholic. It may be, very slightly, but, like most lacto-fermented food and drinks, it's only enough to keep it from spoiling.
Lucas: I use the filtered water from my refigerator door and it's never killed the bacteria.
Ingredients You'll Need
3/4 cup ginger root, peeled and finely chopped or grated
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 - 1/2 cup Rapadura (or sugar)
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 cup whey
2 quarts filtered water
Place all ingredients in a 2-quart jug.
Stir well and cover tightly.
Leave at room temperature for 2-3 days before transferring to the refrigerator.
This will keep several months well chilled.
To serve, strain into a glass.
Mix with carbonated water, if you like, but it's tasty as a warm, uncarbonated drink, as well.