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Homemade REAL Ginger Ale

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:


Food Babe's Homemade REAL Ginger Ale

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
0 mins
Total Time:
10 mins

Serves:  1


  • 2 tablespoons ginger root, juiced
  • 12 ounces sparkling water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey (get local if possible)


  1. Combine all ingredients and enjoy!
  2. 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


  • Please choose all organic ingredient if possible

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.



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221 responses to “Homemade REAL Ginger Ale

  1. hey food babe, you can make real ginger beer with grated ginger, fruit juice and water kefir. Just put them in a sealed small bottle (for carbonation; big bottles will expode) and there you have the healthiest frothing ginger beer and probiotic. Hey, you really are pretty

    1. how do u make water kefir at home? im in a country where pruchasing water kefir is not an option. also, are u markus rothkranz? u sound like him with that “u’re pretty” in the end lol.. is there anyone NOT pretty in truth? when we live from the heart we rather hug and cherish than talk cliche.

  2. With regard to the Mom of those 2 little girls, I doubt she would even care how harmful the drink they were drinking was… I have found that the people who are willing to give their kids fizzy pop really do not want to know what is in it or what it will do to their kids.

    And thankyou for the recipe… I make real ginger ale using a ginger-beer plant, but it takes time. It is nice to have an instant recipe for when the kids (or me) just can’t wait….

    1. If you could say a parent doesnt care from one comment this woman made, then I can tell youre a fckin idiot from the one comment you made.

      1. I don’t see where she said the parent didn’t care. It looks like she said, “Surely this mom has no clue what’s really in this stuff, right?” And kudos to her for not saying anything to the parents even though she’s on the right side of the issue. You probably won’t take my advice, but most of us will immediately discount any negative remark people make by the mere presence of bad language. I swear all the time privately, but if you’re trying to communicate something on a public page, swearing will only hinder the communication of your message.

    2. I’ll say this much… I sadly agree with you. I have friends who give their kids soda and other disgusting things like the corn syrup “maple syrup”. I tell them all the time how bad it is. I send them articles. Some people just don’t care. They don’t want to know. I’m not saying for a minute that they don’t love their kids, but it doesn’t bother them at all to give their kids McDonald’s or subway or soda or anything else I would never give my daughter.

      1. That’s so right on. Unfortunately, most parents just don’t want to know.

      2. to Lauren I read what you said about how mothers don’t care about what there children are drinking in there soda and its true. I find that many people buy soda because its cheap not realizing that when the child gets sick they will pay the doctor a lot more than what they was worried about saving. But also because they have no idea what harm they are causing the child.

      3. I have many well educated friends who feed their kids soda and other junk food. They know whats in it they just don’t care because it is convenient and what the kid asks for.

  3. Have you considered using lacto fermented soda cultures? It’s a natural carbonation! That way you don’t have to worry about the same issues with artificial carbonation.

    It does take a few days to prepare, but the taste and effects on your body are unrivaled!
    first you need a basic culture for all sodas:
    One quart of filtered water
    2 tbsp chopped ginger root
    2 tbsp white sugar (the micro bacilli process the sugar!)
    stir each day for one week
    add 1 tbsp ginger
    1 tbsp white sugar
    and stir multiple times a day
    These beneficial cultures LOVE movement and process the white sugars

    Once the culture is done add one cup per gallon of culture to any soda syrup you make at home.

    Here’s the Ale
    Slice 1 cup ginger
    add 1 cup white sugar
    zest and juice of 1 lemon
    simmer for 25 minutes

    once incorporated all together mix the remaining water and syrup together in a GLASS jar. WAIT until cooled to room temp to add culture.

    cover with cloth or coffee filter (my favorite method) and let sit for 2-3 days

    bottle and keep UN-refridgerated for a remaining 1-2 days
    chill and enjoy!

  4. I read this article and then noticed in Yes Organic a brand by “Bruce Cost” Fresh Ginger Ginger Ale. The ingredients are: Carbonated Water, Pure Cane Sugar, Fresh Ginger, Citric Acid. There is ginger floating in the drink.. I haven’t tasted it, but I was wondering if you all know anything about this?

  5. Hi Food Babe,

    Thank you so much for your great info. Had a few friends totally depressed with your Trader Joes
    investigation and rightfully so. No one is immune to labeling and they make so many claims it had
    to be too good to be true. There are other articles out there, I think one recently about how secretive
    the German parent company is on the products. Anyway, conversation for another topic.

    On the subject of ginger ale, can’t wait to make this recipe!
    But before this, I recently discovered Reeds Premium Ginger
    Brew, all natural Jamican Style Ginger Ale. They claim the following:
    25% fruit juice
    17 grams fresh ginger/bottle
    The rest of the label states: all fresh products like pineapple, lime, lemon, clover honey, filtered water, spices no preservatives, caffeine free, gluten free. There is nothing stating any sort of sugar, or HFCS etc.
    sweetened by the clover honey and pineapple.

    I’d be interested on your opinion. I find them in Whole Foods and Trader Joes among others.

    Thank you!

    1. I love gingerale but I hate the regular ones sold in the stores because they are so sweet the make me feel sick. Im really happy about foodbabes recipe Its awesome!

  6. It’s midnight- and after reading this post I decided to whip up some ginger ale for my ever so inflamed belly. I’m totally impressed- and super excited that it is a healthier way to make it. I hope that it all comes together with a cured belly ache tomorrow 🙂

    1. This took about 5 minutes to throw together for us this past weekend! If you really are passionate about feeding your family clean ingredients from scratch then you will find a way. Your body will thank you! You get used to it and find ways to make it work for your family 🙂

    2. if you don’t have time to commit to being healthy, then you deserve your cancer/tumors/lukemia/obesity!

      1. Wow Kay, you sound like such a nice lady. We should get together sometime. :))

      2. This truly is probably one of the most horrible statements I’ve heard. Just because someone isn’t as knowledgeable as you may be on the matters of “being healthy” they deserve cancer and other various diseases? Why would a person and their family ever deserve that? Some people just don’t know any better yet and some are doing the best they can with the information they are given. The world comes at us from million different directions telling us what is healthy and what’s not. It can be very overwhelming. Especially for someone new to the game an trying to figure it all out alone. So someone does what they believe is healthy for them and their families. The world can’t even agree on what form of exercise is best for Pete sakes. Some people do know going green an unprocessed is ideal…but do you think maybe compassion towards others would be better than wishing their families pain and suffering simply because their healthy lifestyle and yours don’t match? Love people…don’t hate.

      3. LOL!! Love that response! I mean, I think you should reconsider making some time to feed your body healthy stuff, but to say someone deserves diseases?? Wow. But good for you for taking the high road and not insulting her back! Please stop being so angry people! It’s absurd to advocate for taking care of our bodies and then being hateful and judgmental. Can’t we all just get along??? 🙂

  7. I love ginger ale and I have made some othe rrecipes but I ccan’t wait to try yours. I do have one question, how do you juice the ginger?

      1. I cut my ginger into little chunks and squeeze it in a garlic press. Works like a charm! I am drinking some right now, sooooo yummy! I use a scant teaspoon of grade B organic maple syrup per cup to sweeten mine. This time I added a little fresh mint leaves, last time I added cardamom and clove, the times before I added dried lavender, lemon rinds… the possibilities are endless. And for those of you out there who are not teetotalers, mixing this ginger-ale with lemon juice and some rye or tequila is so refreshing!

  8. Thanks for this recipe. When I was younger my mother would give me ginger ale soda whenever I was sick. I was told it will make you feel better. I stopped drinking soda when I was 10, when I got some intuition that soda was garbage. However, my mom is still under the mistaken belief that ginger ale soda is good for you! I will be making this recipe for her! Hopefully, it will change her mind on it.

  9. I love God’s timing. I have been fighting a stomach issue and sent hubby to the store for some ginger ale. He brought home an off brand and I said, “Oh, no, only Canada Dry!” Well, imagine my surprise when comparing the two lables, they were exactly the same and no ginger listed!! I was going to find a recipe and here it was posted today. Thank you!

  10. Definitely saving this recipe and trying it when I return home. I am so scared about juices and other drinks that could be full of these harmful ingredients. I am always looking for new, healthy recipes especially for my son. I want him to be healthy and not be exposed to all these nasty ingredients.

  11. Molly, it doesn’t take long at all to make most things at home.
    I recreated my favorite ginger ale (Buffalo Rock) at home in a spice ginger syrup reduction that lasts for weeks refrigerated. I use my soda stream and just ad the mix and it is fantastic.
    Once you start making things from scratch, it becomes second nature and you find that your mood brightens from being more involved in the food you enjoy.


  12. I thought of this recipe on Sunday when my 6 year old was down and out with a nasty stomach bug that had him throwing up throughout the day. My mom texted me saying “have you tried giving him ginger ale or coke?”
    I am a total food nazi in my family and I just about DIED that she even suggested such a thing. I quickly texted her back saying, “no ginger ale/coke in this house! YUCK!” To which she replied “why would you not try a tried and true method that’s been around since my grannies day?”
    Ho hum. Obviously I have a lot of work still to do on my family. And I thought I was making progress. But I forwarded this post to her hoping that she would see the light!
    In any event, I did try this ginger ale recipe and, Oh. My. Goodness. That stuff is good! My kids tried it too and while weren’t total fans, they did drink a good portion of it. THANKS for you…you make me feel like I am not standing on an organic island all by myself!

    1. Actually, your mother was right, and your disrespect was ignorant and uncalled for. Coke was once made with sugar syrup; flat coke was excellent for an upset stomach. Ginger ale was once made with ginger, a very tried and true cure for nausea. Granny was right, your mother was right. But things have changed, and the ingredients are no longer what they were. Instead of being a supercilious child, smug in your newfound knowledge, you could have seen the teachable moment and updated your mom’s information. You have a lot to learn.

      1. Thank you, Dragonwych, for putting my opinion into words so well. When I was pregnant regular Coke was the only thing that soothed my stomach. Could I have made my own version of it and been more organic? Perhaps. Now, from reading this site and its comments, I see that my children & I totally deserve cancer and whatever else befalls us. Nice positive worldview you zealots tout.

      2. … if one feels the need of something for nausea (that won’t get one arrested), most pharmacies still sell coke syrup in small quantities over the Rx counter ….

  13. I had a little intestinal discomfort last night due to over-indulging earlier in the day at a brunch buffet.
    After reading your recipe, I went into my kitchen, peeled about 1 inch fresh ginger root with a serrated spoon, added about 1/4 fresh peeled lemon, 1 Tbsp maple syrup, about 1/4 cup coconut water (just enough to add a little liquid) processed it on high for around a minute in my HealthMaster, then added sparkling water and drank it all up. It was incredibly delicious, and I did begin to feel better.
    Thanks Food Babe for so much helpful information.

  14. We where shopping at Earthfare here Knoxville Tn. They sell a Karo brand corn syrup as non GMO. We called the Karo company and they themselves said everything they sell is GMO based. But EarthFare is palming their product as GMO free. You can not believe these Health food stores. They are only in it for the money.

  15. I appreciate that you are trying to help people learn to be healthy and understand what they are eating.

    However, this kind of mentality is going to attract or lead to people having “Orthorexia” (eventually possible Anorexia).

    1. Shelley, there are more people than you know that are getting sick on the food additives. I am one and know several others. I just discovered the commercial dog food was making my pets sick, they are off commercial dog food and doing very well.

  16. Hey ! Off topic but I know you order from the green polka dot box and I was wondering if there’s an inexpensive canadian site to shop from?

  17. Enjoyed the article; completely sympathetic to the cause. One teensy point of order, though? You state “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…” – common enough error, but the correct usage of the phrase is “you’ve got another ‘think’ coming”, not “thing” Thanks! #wordsmatter

  18. Vani or Madeline- thank you for this! My husband is on chemo and always likes to have ginger ale on hand for his nausea. Now I will try to make my own! Wanted to ask- if I juiced a lot of ginger at one time, how long do you think it would keep? (i.e. if I wanted to make a batch for the week or a few days. [and provided that I keep it in a closed container and refrigerated]). Or is it one of those items that needs to always be juiced fresh? Please let me know!

    1. I’ve been juicing ginger root for a couple years and it does fine in a glass bottle in the refrigerator. One pound of ginger root yields one cup of juice. This lasts me a month and the juice does fine stored this way. You will find differences in color, separation layers and potency with ginger from different sources though I always buy organic root. I use about one teaspoon of the juice per cup of liquid, e.g., one teaspoon in a one cup of green tea +lemon juice +sweetener. The root is gnarly and can clog some juicers after just a half pound is juiced so I often take a pound of root to a local friendly juice bar where they juice it for me in their professional juicer in seconds. If they won’t do it free offer a dollar or two. I haven’t yet, but to make “gingerale” I would use Gerolsteiner sparkling mineral water – I’ve been advised by an ND it has an excellent mineral spectrum.

  19. I frequently add ginger slices to my hot tea for an extra hit of ginger. My favorite is peppermint tea with ginger slices. And yes… it’s all organic tea.

  20. Ehh. On a plane, I’d probably have been drinking ginger ale, too. At least until they crossed the line by adding artificial sweeteners. For me, being able to stay hydrated and burp to release the pressure behind my eardrums trump the corn syrup. And I am NOT bringing a sodastream with freshly juiced yadda yadda on the plane.

    But I don’t drink soda on a regular basis. I just do my best to make the majority of my food choices sensible ones and stress less about the slip ups.

  21. Reed’s Ginger Ale can be gotten at Bevmo – its ingredients are “sparkling filtered water, sweetened by a blend of Canadian white water clover honey, pineapple juice from concentrate, fresh ginger root, lemon and lime juices from concentrate, and spices. No preservatives or artificial anything.” It might not be as good as making it on your own – don’t know, haven’t tried that yet – but it’s an excellent, flavorful ginger ale and while I only buy it on rare occasions, I don’t feel guilty for drinking it.

  22. I was sitting in the chemo section of a hospital, while my dad was receiving his first dose of chemo and noticed all the young women there for the same thing. A volunteer came around offering ginger ale, diet soda, coke, gatorade and processed cheese crackers. I asked the volunteer If she had a coconut water or even a glass of water. She said no. I just felt sad for everyone there, not knowing the chemicals they were drinking. I’m glad I found your website. Knowing the hidden dangers in food and drinks have made me very aware. I will pack my own healthy drinks and snacks from now on. Seeing what a hospital serves its sick patients, has made me very sad.

  23. You could probably use stevia to sweeten this homemade instant ginger ale if you’re trying to watch your sugar. Stevia is an all-natural sweetener made from the stevia plant. The one called “Stevia extract In the Raw” is probably the best if you’re going for all-natural. Truvia and PureVia both have a sugar alcohol called erythritol blended in. Sugar alcohols are derived from natural sources and metabolize independently of insulin (in other words don’t cause an insulin response) but over-consumption of sugar alcohols can lead to gastric distress so just be careful if you’re using the other brands of stevia sweeteners.

  24. This is a wonderful idea, and I can remember the old days when ginger ale really tasted like ginger. I have SodaStream, so I will be trying this recipe when the children come over. Thanks!

  25. I make candied ginger 1/8″ slices boiled in honey sweetened water (syrup) with cinnamon. The candied ginger is great to snack on, relieves motion sickness etc. Then I save the ginger syrup and make candied lime and lemon slices and save that syrup as well. Then I take 4 parts ginger syrup with cinnamon, to 1 part each of lemon and lime syrup and 2 parts pineapple juice; mix with chilled sparkling water to taste (desired sweetness). trust me. that’s how ginger ale should be.

  26. Wouldn’t adding the maple syrup, etc make it a very high calorie ginger ale?
    Thank you for all of your FREE research FoodBabe, its so nice of you to share with the world. What a shame people actually jab eachother in replies and pick things apart. Ignore them and continue taking the high road of research you do and know most all of us appreciate it greatly!

  27. and Monsanto is the parent company of coke which is the parent of seagrams…..interesting-good place to dump the aspartame

  28. Just tried this recipe sweetened with a dew drops of no alcohol stevia. Tastes like it’s missing something.

  29. My dad is in chemo and has been drinking diet vernors ginger ale by the liter. It was also recommended to him by the hospital. I just wish hospitals of all places had better educated staff and served more nutritious food and drinks to their patients. You have posted about this before, but hospital food is really atrocious. Why isn’t nutrition mandatory learning for everyone? Why are so few people really educated about this stuff? I am trying to teach my family, but I feel like I am the lone voice amongst all this food-product noise.

    1. Actually, Vernors has a higher ginger content than Seagram’s, Schweppes, and Canada Dry. Vernors is a golden (aka original) ginger ale, while most major brands on the market are dry ginger ales, which contain very little ginger. You can easily tell the difference by taste alone. Dry ginger ales are supposed to have a weak ginger taste so they can be mixed in with alcoholic beverages.

  30. I suffered a heart attack in December 2012. In the hospital, in the cardiac wing, the meals I was brought were full of processsed crap and chemicals, such as Promise margarine, Wish Bone salad dressing, white rolls, white rice, and diet (artificially sweetened) Jello. At my request the kitchen director came to see me and I complained to him. Nothing had changed when I had another hospital stay to monitor a change in heart medication in January 2014, but this time, I was prepared; I had friends and family bring me clean meals. It is all so sad. I think hospitals are obsessed with making money, and they serve foods from whatever companies cut the best deals with them.

  31. Just wondering what you think of the Wholefoods 365 gingerale?
    It’s says natural ginger flavor and caramel color from “cane sugar”… Most of their soda are all natural.

    1. You’ve answered your own question. That is, if you’ve read the article. Allow me to recap: Avoid “natural” flavors and avoid “caramel color” and all other food dyes. Whole Foods stores are loaded with products containing genetically modified ingredients. “FDA” much more accurately means Fatal Defects Allowed. That is not a joke. It’s really simple: Don’t eat industrial food (same as commercial food, same as processed food).

  32. What do people think of those “sparkling water” do it yourself kits?

    I can’t seem to find any sparkling or carbonated water in bulk.


    1. Hi Rachel,

      Are you referring to this? Sodastream | Turn Water Into Fresh Sparkling Water And Soda

      The “machine” uses regular water and carbonates it as far as I know. (I just got one for free off freecycle, but I haven’t used it yet.)

  33. Hello. I just discovered your site. Have you heard of “Gus” sodas? There ginger ale is my favorite. It has ginger extract and is less sweet than Seagram’s, Canada Dry and Reed’s.

    I am concerned though about the “caramelized sugar (for color).” Is that always carcinogenic?

  34. I made this today for my son and myself. Totally enjoyed it! It was easy to make, and light and refreshing in taste. I predict I’ll be making this ginger-ale often.

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