The coolest bit of trivia that I have learned recently? The first person to commercially bottle what we now know as ginger ale was a McLaughlin. Ginger soda has probably existed in some form since the early 1800s, when a sugary water steeped with spicy ginger root was popular in Britain and Ireland, but in 1890 a gentleman named John J. McLaughlin opened a soda water bottling plant in Toronto, Canada. By 1907, the fizzy pale dry ginger ale he made there was dubbed Canada Dry and soda history was set.
As far as I can tell, this particular John J. is not directly linked to of my part of the McLaughlin clan, but I can't help feeling some pride and kinship. And we share an obsession with all things ginger. This DIY ginger ale is simple and probably closer to what John J. originally made than what we find commercially today.
What You Need:
5-inch piece of ginger
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 quart chilled seltzer or club soda
4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
Knife or grater
Cheesecloth or fine strainer
Jar or Bottle
What To Do
Peel the ginger and chop into a large dice. You could also grate the ginger, Add the ginger to a saucepan with 2 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar and simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves., about 3-4 minutes.
Lower the heat to simmer, and continue cooking for 30 minutes, until the liquid is syrupy and reduced by half. Strain out the ginger solids and refrigerate.
Once the ginger syrup is chilled, mix with the seltzer and lime juice to taste for your ginger ale.