An advertisement caught my eye yesterday while I was looking for something to read on the airplane… In the seat pocket in front of me, I found a little pamphlet for the new USAirways menu – it had Seagram’s new Ginger Ale blasted all over it. The ad said “made with real ginger” and now “25% fewer calories.” I have to admit, this got me a little excited – I thought “holy smokes, there might just be a ginger ale on the market that won’t kill you.” But then I looked up the ingredients and found out the truth. I should have known it was too good to be true – the marketing on the flyer was complete BS.
AND THEN… this afternoon I saw 2 little girls about 4 years old sipping double Seagram’s Ginger Ales while out with their mom… I wanted to say something SO BADLY… it BROKE MY HEART. Surely this mom has no clue what’s really in this stuff, right? Needless to say – these encounters inspired me to write this post.
How Much Ginger Does Typical Ginger Ale Really Have?
First of all – I don’t even see REAL ginger on the label – do you? They might be talking about the “natural flavors” that could contain some real ginger, but also probably a bunch of other nasties that you’ll never be able to find out because the formula is proprietary. If you don’t see the word “ginger” on the label – the amount is negligible. Using natural flavors as opposed to real ginger allows companies to use a much cheaper ingredient that usually has ZERO health benefits.
Artificial Color Is Added To Trick You
Seagram’s (Coca Cola is the parent company) adds caramel coloring to make this drink look more golden than it actually is – mimicking the REAL color of ginger. This type of caramel isn’t the stuff you make at home by cooking sugar. This caramel color is manufactured by heating ammonia and sulfites under high pressure, which creates carcinogenic compounds. Getting a dose of this known carcinogen is proven to cause liver tumors, lung tumors, and thyroid tumors in rats and mice.
It’s amazing this stuff is even on the FDA’s approved list of additives considering it is only added for cosmetic reasons and serves no real purpose (other than to trick consumers!).
A Preservative Linked To Hyperactivity & Aging
The Mayo Clinic reported that the preservative sodium benzoate (an ingredient found in many different brands of Ginger Ales) may increase hyperactivity in children. Also, when sodium benzoate combines with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) benzene can form a carcinogen and kill DNA cells, accelerating aging.
Hidden Artificial Sweeteners
The artificial sweetener “Sucralose” (a.k.a. Splenda) is added to keep the calories down (hence the “25% fewer calories” label), make it unnaturally sweet and get you addicted. Seagram’s recently did a rebranding campaign and snuck this ingredient in without telling anyone officially that they were changing their formula to include artificial sweeteners. Recent research out of Europe showed rats developed leukemia after consuming Sucralose. This is obviously an ingredient no one should be consuming… especially if you are trying to lose weight and save calories.
And if you think other brands are better – that use this same “made with real ginger” (like Canada Dry) promise on their packaging, you got another thing coming – they just use straight up high fructose corn syrup that is one of the worst sugars you could ever put in your body, linked to obesity and is likely make from GMO corn.
Investigating Seagrams inspired me to order a homemade ginger ale from my favorite organic cafe (Luna’s Living Kitchen) when I got off the plane last night. Knowing that not all of you have access to this amazing gem that is here in Charlotte – I decided to recreate the recipe just for you. I know you are going to love this! It’s so refreshing…here are all the details:
- 2 inch piece of ginger juiced (or more if you like it really spicy!)
- 12 ounces of sparkling or carbonated water
- squeeze of lemon
- 2 tbsp coconut nectar, honey or maple syrup (more if you like it really sweet)
- Combine all ingredients and enjoy!
- Tip: If you don't have a juicer, you can blend the ginger with the lemon juice and squeeze the juice out of a cheese cloth
Cheers to getting some Real Ginger Ale with real ginger!
P.S. Please share this post with anyone you still know drinking Ginger Ale thinking it’s better than Coke – because it’s obviously not! I can only hope that by some act of sharing that the mother I saw today with her 2 children will get clued in about this horrible drink and have an alternative to share with her family.
221 responses to “Homemade REAL Ginger Ale”
Just sent you a note, The grocery store variety of ginger ale was to treat my son’s dehydration not vomiting. It worked.
I use a garlic press to squeeze a glass worth of ginger juice. It works great!
thats a good idea!
That’s a great idea…much less clean up
What would be the best flour too use for gravy?thank you
I use Einkorn wheat. Its an ancient wheat. You can get it at Jovial foods online and the shipping is free.
I’ve stopped using wheat flours or cornstarch entirely and now use arrowroot powder. Great texture and gluten free as well!
That’s not even real ginger ale. You are making ginger flavored carbonated crap is all. Ginger ALE, there is a brewing process you must go through to actually make a true ginger ale. You can make it with very little alcohol in it too. Stop thinking everyone is trying to kill you.
then lets take a look, Joe. post the recipe, and let everyone decide from there. Id love a home brewed Ginger Ale, So post it up. Next time im on this site id love to see it Joe.
Here’s how to make actual ginger ale, not ginger flavored carbonated water.
No further comments for Joe. How predictable. Thanks for the link, Joe. I’ve been making my own kombucha. I’m going to have to try this out.
Would much rather spend 5 mins making this refreshing recipe on a hot summers day than waiting 3 days on a witches brew that could possibly give you salmonella…
Honestly, I read “health benefits” and thought this would be an article about raising a proper spicy ginger bug and keeping it happy, and learning more about specific enzymes created, possible problems when brewing and how to solve them, notes on fermentation and santization, and specifics on the other health benefits of this HIGHLY PROBIOTIC drink.
But nah, it’s just syrup and seltzer.
So here’s what I’m doing:
Sanitize all your stuff with soap and 150° water, rinse, then use vinegar or alcohol or other sanitizing agent and rinse again.
My ginger bug is in a quart mason jar with a coffee filter held down by the wide mouth band.
Get a nice ginger root that feels the best, clean it up, then break off about a 2″ chunk.
Dice it as finely as possible to maximize surface area. The wild yeast and beneficial bacteria hide within. We are coaxing them out.
Dump your ginger into your sanitized jar and add two cups of distilled water, then two table spoons of white sugar.
Add two tablespoons of ginger, water, and white sugar every day, and tell your new pets that you love them. You need to take care of them now, and they will take care of you. Be kind to your ginger bug and it will be most cooperative.
For me and my bug, carbonation was observed after three days in my 68° kitchen. Your results may vary.
Some people add jalepeño slices for added spice.
Anyway, make your syrup by mixing sugar, distilled water, ginger root, and honey in appropriate amounts for your volume and taste preferences. In a 1G batch I have 1lb of honey, 1 whole ginger root (feel free to add more) and three cups of sugar and two cups of my ginger bug. After a few days you may notice a faint fart smell. These are sulfites, and if/when this occurs it is a sign that your little darlings are stressed. I combat this by adding white sugar (which results in an immediate happy head forming on the brew and then I slice one end off of a lemon and squeeze all the juice in. The smell should vanish. Apply more as needed.
real ginger ale starts with what they call a “ginger bug” many sodas have been made this way long before Coca Cola even existed. I have not tried this myself but plan on it soon as i get my Kombucha figured out
How’s the kombucha going? I just started making it a couple months ago, and I’m hooked. I also make kefir and cider vinegar. I feel like an alchemist. 🙂
The kombucha is going well. I have found that I really like a ginger flavored version or a lime flavored. You might want to be careful brewing more then one fermented item at the same time. I have heard that they can contaminate each other quite quickly.. Good luck with your alchemy.
Ginger is one of my favorites as well. I did have a mango kombucha (I added 2 oz mango juice to a 16oz EZ cap bottle then filled with plain kumbucha.) I sealed it and allowed a to ferment/carbonate for 1 week. Upon serving, I added a tsp of fresh ginger juice plus 2 tbsp of homemade apple cider vinegar. It was outrageous!
I just made this its AWESOME
I’ve been making homemade kombucha for a few months now. It’s fun and delicious. I will often add fresh ginger juice right before sealing for carbonation (2nd ferment). It is absolutely delicious! I make my own cider vinegars, too.
I am lucky enough to have a local company who makes an organic ginger ale concentrate. It blows away what comes in those green soda bottles!! They are called Drink More Good and they are also available on Amazon and I think at Whole Foods. I can get them at my local chain grocery or natural store and they just opened their own retail shop in Beacon. I get to talk to the people that actually make the stuff. I will have to try the recipe here too and see how it compares.
For sugar-free ‘ginger ale’, take club soda and add some vanilla extract!
We drink Reed’s Ginger Beer -no alcohol in it and we buy the one sweetened with pineapple juice – It comes in different strengths of ginger also. You can find it in most grocery stores. It is divine!!
you can make delicious ginger ale using kkombucha. I add some water, dry or fresh ginger, and some sweetener like stevia. Dee-lish
New trick: synbio, synthetic biology. In the lab a genetic part of the ginger, etc, is taken and manipulated to make a flavoring. For some reason the FDA lets this be called organic flavoring if the ginger is organic. See article in Mother Jones. This food chemistry is pure evil.
Laughable that you think honey, maple syrup, and or coconut nectar is healthy! You are seriously kidding yourself!!
Recently a television ad has been running a lot about Sunbelt Bakery items. Several times they boast about how they do not add preservatives. I looked at the box in the store and I’m not sure what is in them, but it has to be preservatives. How else would they keep them on the shelf. How is it possible for Sunbelt to make this claim?
Fresh ginger juice is very good for you. Great for digestion, etc. Look it up. We make a similar gingerale. We juice ginger (works well with any juicer and can leave the skins on) and mix it with about 1 part sweetener to 3 parts ginger juice. We then put 1 TBLS of the ginger juice with 1 TBLS lime juice and add carbonated or still water. We make a big batch of the ginger/ sweetener mixture and freeze it in half cup containers, so that we have a 3-4 month supply. We drink it most days.
I don’t have a juicer, but I did have organic ginger juice (from The Ginger People) and made a guess with this recipe how much I should use. I used 1 part honey to 2 parts ginger juice with carbonated water and a splash of lemon juice. Delicious! It could probably be a little sweeter to be more like ginger ale, but I really like how it’s a litle more on the spicy side. I ahem really grown to love (as opposed to like) ginger in my food and drinks, so I will definitely be making this again! Thanks for the great suggestion.
any suggestions on a substitute for the lemon juice? I love ginger and would love to make this homemade ginger soda but I am allergic to citrus and pineapple.
I drink Outrageous Ginger Ale, I get it at Whole Foods. It is so good! Thanks for pointing out all of the terrible things in store ginger ale.
Please investigate all the sucralose in mouthwash. Even the prescription kind my husband got from his dentist. It’s also in cough medicine, so frustrating. Thank you for all you do!
I love how simple these ingredients are!!! And although I haven’t tried to make this yet, I certainly will soon. I just now found this blog and I’m loving it!!!!
Thank you for an easy, fast recipe. Traditional homemade ginger ale is fermented (which is really good for you) and extremely easy to make as well.
Thank u I’ve battled cyclical vomiting for so long it is making me insane. Canada dry schwepps all that garbage does nothing but make me feel worse. Glad I saw ur post. I’m very grateful.