Commercial ginger drinks are rarely gingery enough for me; I prefer less sweetness and more of that spicy bite of lots of fresh ginger. So I usually skip the store-bought stuff and make my own ginger beverages, using one of these three simple methods.
Method 1: Make a ginger simple syrup.
Simple syrups are a 1:1 mixture of water and sugar, simmered until the sugar dissolves. They can be flavored with all kinds of herbs or spices, and I like to cram in as much fresh ginger as I can. I don't peel the ginger, just wash it and cut it into slices about 1/2-inch thick and, after simmering and cooling, let the mixture steep in the fridge overnight before straining out the ginger. The syrup will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks and can be added to soda water, tea, or cocktails.
Method 2: Simmer fresh ginger in water.
A less sugary option is simmering the ginger in water alone, creating a potent tea that can be lightly sweetened and mixed with fresh lemon juice or other flavorings. It's the perfect pick-me-up when you feel a cold coming on.
Method 3: Add freshly grated ginger directly to your drink.
The quickest, easiest way to add a hit of ginger to any drink is to simply grate a piece of peeled, fresh ginger and add the pulp and any accumulated juice to the drink. I use a microplane, which grates the ginger to a fine texture that is similar to the pulp in lemonade or orange juice. (If you prefer, you can steep the ginger in the drink for a couple hours and strain it out before serving.) Fresh ginger mixed with soda water and the juice of half a lime is my personal favorite combination.
Try a Recipe:
→ Ginger Switchel
What are your favorite homemade ginger drinks?
(Image credits: Faith Durand)