Recently, we purchased a SodaStream machine. I'm not totally sure whether it was a good or bad move, but nothing seems to quench a summer (and pregnant!) thirst quite like bubbly water. Or a fresh, homemade ginger beer.
I really like that we aren't buying bottles of Perrier or other sparkling waters, which means there's no bottle waste. And there's no water waste, either—nothing defizzes and goes flat in the fridge. We make each batch as we need it and drink it all up.
Plus, the whole thing feels a little old-timey to me, too, which I also love. Watch old movies where people mix drinks (often at 11 am) for visitors, and you'll see them making their own soda water right there on the spot too. Granted, their systems were a little nicer than the plastic SodaStream, but still. Bubbles are bubbles. (And a note on those plastic bottles. We store our water in glass and only pour it into the plastic bottle that fits to the machine in order to carbonate the water. Hopefully those ten seconds aren't enough to leach any harmful chemicals.)
While we mostly just drink the bubble water plain with just a squirt of lemon or lime, it's fun to get a little fancy on occasion as well, like with a homemade ginger beer. (And just a note to pregnant moms: ginger is extremely helpful for morning sickness!)
The store-bought brands of ginger beers can contain close to 40 grams of sugar per serving! Even though there are all-natural versions, that's still a lot of sugar, and I don't like the coating it leaves on my tongue. Nor do I feel so great when I consume that much sugar. And at eight months pregnant, it's also not an option for my baby who certainly doesn't need the glucose rush either.
So making my own ginger syrup for this ginger beer recipe allows me to tame the sugar. You can certainly add more, if you like. But I recommend making it less sweet to start and if needed, add a natural sweetener once you've had a sip.
Makes about 6 servings
- ½ cup coconut sugar, sucanat, or turbinado sugar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 4–5 inch hunk of ginger, peeled and chopped or grated
- Juice of 3 large, ripe lemons (limes work well too)
- 2 cups filtered or spring water (flat)
- 6 cups soda water
In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except for the lemon juice and soda water. Bring to a slow boil, reduce the heat, and let simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring on occasion.
Remove the pan from the heat and let steep covered for half an hour. (The mixture should be thick, like pure maple syrup.) Once cooled, strain out the ginger pieces and store the syrup in a jar in the refrigerator.
Once the syrup is cooled, add about two tablespoons to a 12-ounce glass. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon (or lime) and fill with cold soda water, and ice if desired. Garnish with more lemon slices. Mix well and enjoy!
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger
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