Posts filed under ‘Beverages’
We just popped open our first attempt at homemade ginger ale. It was good. Plenty of room for improvements, but I have some ideas. The first issue was the carbonation. It was mildly fizzy at best. I did some research and figured out that if you brew it at a higher PSI, you’ll get more carbonation. Considering I made mine in a milk jug, I suppose the flatness is to be expected. The second issue was sweetness. It probably could’ve used a tad more sugar. Then again, maybe we are all just used to having our drinks overbearingly, diabetes-ly sweet. Anyways, here’s the recipe and method:
3/4c sugar (I’ll probably try 1c next time)
4oz of fresh ginger root (Next time, I’ll use 6oz)
2c filtered water
1T lemon juice
Grate the ginger root (a food processor might be your best friend here). Put the ginger in a small saucepan with the water. Bring this to a boil and dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved and the water is boiling, remove it from the heat, cover it and let it steep for an hour. Once this is done, strain the mixture (removing all solids) and let it cool to room temperature. Once at room temp, dissolve the yeast and lemon juice. Pour this mixture into a clean, empty 2-litre. Fill all but an inch with filtered water. Set it on the counter and wait for 24-48 hrs until the bottle is very firm to squeeze (but before the pressure causes it to explode). Refrigerate and enjoy when cool.
On selecting the ginger: I grabbed a hung that was about fist size. I’ll probably go a little bigger than that next time.
A final caveat: I brewed it super spicy, because that’s what I like. It still wasn’t spicy enough for me, though. My goal was to get something like Blenheim Ginger Ale (the most absolutely incredible ginger ale ever made). I’m not quite there, but it was a respectable first try.
Last night I made my first batch of svařak (Czech mulled wine). It was pretty decent. I checked out several recipes and landed on this one. I used this one because it didn’t call for brandy, which I don’t have. As it turns out, I may try to keep some on hand for the next time I make it. The svařak was good, but you could tell it had a low alcohol content. But from a flavor standpoint, it was spot on. It makes me miss home. Nothing warms you up better after wandering around Old Town Prague for two hours in sub-zero temperature than a steaming cup of svařak.
Svařak (Czech mulled wine):
- 1-2 sticks of cinnamon
- 8-10 cloves, crushed
- 4-6 allspice pods, crushed
- 4T honey
- 2 bottles of red wine (I used Merlot, but I think Cabernet might be better)
- 1c water
Boil the water and steepe the spices for 10-15 minutes. Add a bit more water if it reduces too much. Stir in honey after the spices have had some time to steepe. Add the wine and experiment with the correct amount of brandy. Warm the mixture, but do not boil. Strain while serving.