I've gone through a number of unsuccessful attempts at ginger ale. Some came out way too sweet, others had barely a hint of ginger and one attempt to brew it ended with a supremely delicious but not at all bubbly drink. To date my most successful recipe has also been the simplest, which doesn't require steeping the ginger or infusing weird flavours, just fresh ingredients and a ton of elbow grease.
This is a recipe which doesn't require but is made much easier with a Microplane zester, I use this zester every day for zest, grating cheese, garlic or even chocolate, and in this instance it works wonderfully in ensuring you get as much juice out of your fresh ginger as possible. If you don't want to buy a microplane, or you want your ginger ale now rather than later, you can make do with a regular grater and a little more work or by cutting the ginger as fine as you can: Just be sure you don't lose too much juice to the chopping board.
Ginger Ale Syrup
Fresh Ginger Root
Peel the ginger and grate it into a bowl
Tip the grated ginger into a fine mesh strainer and use a spoon to squeeze the juice into a jug (Every last drop!)
Add simple syrup and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
I ended up using 75ml of ginger juice with 175ml of simple syrup. But I find it's easiest to zest all of your ginger, and to add simple syrup to a ratio of 3 parts ginger, 7 parts simple syrup. Note that this results in a fairly spicy ginger ale, which I love. But if a more chilled out ginger ale is on order, simply up the percentage of simple syrup to ginger juice.
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Water
Simmer sugar and water on the stove over medium-low heat until fully dissolved
They don't call it simple syrup for nothing
I like to bottle my syrups in little milk bottles, adding a splash of vodka as a preservative. If you follow my recipe exactly you should have some simple syrup left over. Bottle that too, because simple syrup is always useful.
Fill a glass with ice and add 1oz Ginger ale syrup
Add 5oz Soda Water
Stir with a barspoon or chopstick
Garnish with mint and lime.
With that, I'm usually just about ready to fetch a good book or some close friends and try above all to forget the heat