Ginger & A warming but refreshing Tonic, Homemade Ginger Ale


The rhizome with a kick. Ginger was and is an essential spice in India, China, Japan, and southeast Asia. The name "ginger" comes from the word "zingiber" the latin name, which came from the Greek name "Zingiberis" which was the translation from Sanskirt "Sringa-vera, which means Horny-body. It was brought to Europe by the Romans about 2000 years ago. Guests in Korean houses along with guests at King Arthur's court were all treated to ginger. It was obviously a delicacy to our ancestors. It was written in a Greco-Roman materia medica in 77 AD that stated ginger is good for the stomach and excellent antidote against poison. Marco Polo was one of the first Europeans in China to try to find out the origins of Ginger. During the Renaissance, it had high reputation. This is where one would have found gingerbread and ginger ale.

During American revolutionary time, high society passed around Ginger jam after eating to prevent burping and belching.

In today's Western cuisine it is used mainly in desserts, cakes, and breads as well as candied or preserved sweetmeat. Jamaica continues to produce one of the best varieties of GInger.

The part of the ginger plant that is used is the Rhizome (root part). It is a tall, perennial, tropical plant. It can be easily planted by spreading cut up pieces of the ginger rhizome in a couple of inches of dirt. It takes about 1 year to harvest.

Fresh ginger is the best, as the juice in warm water or room temp water can aid in nausea, digestion, flatulence as well relaxing the intestines. It helps improve pain and inflammation in up to 75% of people with arthritis. It may ease migraine headaches and improve mobility in stiff joints.

GInger ale

1/2 cups chopped peeled ginger (7 ounces)

2 cups water

3/4 cup raw honey

About 1 quart chilled seltzer or club soda

About 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Cook ginger in water in a small saucepan at a low simmer, partially covered, 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep, covered, 20 minutes. Strain mixture through a sieve into a bowl, pressing on ginger and then discarding. Return liquid to saucepan and add honey and a pinch of salt, stir, until honey has dissolved. Chill syrup in a covered jar until cold.

Assemble drinks: Mix ginger syrup with mineral water and lime juice (start with 1/4 cup syrup and 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice per 3/4 cup mineral water, then adjust to taste).

Originally by Andrea Albin Gourmet June 2010 [modified]

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