Monday, March 17, 2014

Clove-Ginger Ale

Sometimes, inspiration comes from the most unexpected places.  This time, I found just the right recipe to try in the pages of OR Today, a great magazine about surgical concerns that I've written for in the past.

The original recipe was intended as a decoction to help the body detox during a detox diet.  It makes some sense.  Many of the spices included have known antifungal, antibacterial, or other health benefits.

However, to me, it sounded like a great beverage.  I reduced the water in the original cooking process, then added sugar (a definite detox no-no, but oh, well) at the end.  The final syrup is diluted 50/50 with carbonated water.

Clove-Ginger Ale
About 40 whole cloves
About 20 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 ginger root, about 4-5 inches long, sliced
2 quarts water
1 cup sugar (organic is nice)

Add all ingredients to a slow cooker and cook until the mixture is a deep amber color, about four hours on high in my Crock Pot.  Strain the spices out, and add sugar, more or less to taste.  It is nice to leave this a little "dry," or slightly less sweet than you would expect commercial soda pop to be.

Chill.  When ready to drink, mix half and half with carbonated water. (I use my Soda Stream.)

The Analysis
Fast:  This takes no real prep time; it's all passive cooking time, during which your house will smell like Christmas!

Cheap:  This does take a fair amount of spice, so I have the sense that we aren't winning the race on cost here.  But the final product is worth it.

Good:  This has a much deeper and more complex flavor than traditional ginger ale, plus a bouquet that you can smell around the room when you are drinking it.  You control the amount of sugar and quality of ingredients.  And hey, if it has some remaining detox benefits, so much the better!

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