Recipe Flash: Homemade Ginger Ale

Other Homemade Drinks: Lemonade, Spiked or Sober; Iced Chai Tea Latte

I didn’t grow up with many processed foods. My mother rarely brought me to the actual supermarket, and, when she did, it was one big tease. Head down, I would walk by the Gushers and the Oreos and the Dunkeroos–the staples of my friends’ houses–and follow my mother to the frozen vegetable section. But later on, outside her supervision, when I came into contact with these junk food items, especially at my friend Anna’s house, I would Go. To. Town.

The one loophole I found in sugary, supermarket aisle bliss was Canada Dry ginger ale. Perhaps it was because the name featured an ingredient from the produce section, but my mom made an exception when it came to this soda. I would plow through one bottle in a sitting–usually, within 5 minutes of walking in the door from school. At that rate, it must have felt like her grocery shopping became a never-ending process of seeing how many heavy green bottles she could carry into the house in one trip.

In college, when I was actually the one paying for Sam’s Club boxes of ginger ale, it became more of a treat. And by the time I moved into my first NYC apartment, it had gone the same way as other unnecessary frivolous purchases, like that seventh type of mustard, designer mascara, and haircuts. But thanks to our recent SodaStream Soda Maker Giveaway, I finally got the inspiration I needed to drink ginger ale the budget-friendly, better way: by making it myself! I am thrilled to share this recipe with my fellow ginger ale-oholics. The flavor, with that intense, nose-crinkling gingery taste, is definitely closer to what you’ll find at expensive health food stores, not the old supermarket aisle. And if you manage to polish off the whole batch in one sitting, all you have to do is get off your butt and make more.

Of course, I’ve also included a big kid way to enjoy this soda, with the addition of a little gin. I would not recommend drinking this version in one sitting.

From my kitchen, chugging ginger ale, to yours,



Homemade Thyme and Ginger Ale
Makes about 6 drinks

1 cup peeled, sliced ginger root
5 sprigs thyme (plus more for garnish)
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
1 quart sparkling water
2 limes, quartered (plus more for garnish)

In a small saucepan, bring the ginger, thyme, sugar, and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low and gently simmer for 15-20 minutes. Either strain the liquid into a 2-cup measure, or use a slotted spoon to remove the ginger slices and thyme sprigs. Discard the thyme, and save the ginger for garnish. You should have about 1 ½ – 1 ¾ cup of ginger syrup.

Fill your water glasses (I used mason jars) with ice cubes, pour in ¼ cup of ginger syrup and ¾ cup sparkling water, and squeeze one wedge of lime into the glass. Stir until incorporated. Taste, and add more syrup as needed. Garnish with a few slices of ginger, sprigs of thyme, and a lime wedge, if you so choose.

Gin and Gingers
Makes 6-8 drinks

2 cups ginger syrup (see above, omit the thyme)
2 cups gin
1 quart sparkling water
2 limes, quartered (plus more for garnish)

Combine 4 ice cubes, 1/4 cup ginger syrup, 1/4 cup gin, and 1/2 cup sparkling water in a tall water glass. Stir to incorporate. Garnish with a lime wedge.


  1. This is great. Ginger’s good for digestion. Thyme is good for…hot flashes. Not your problem, I’ll bet.

  2. Love this!  I’ve got a bunch of lemon thyme in my herb garden that I wanted to harvest before the frost hits, and this sounds like it would be a perfect use for some of it. I love me a good, spicy, gingery ginger ale.

  3. That sounds amazing! I felt the same way when my mom took me to the grocery store, except that even soda didn’t deter her (maybe Hansen’s for birthday parties–even when I graduated from college I had to beg her to buy a 24-pack of beers and some soda for my party). Love this idea!

  4. Hi Girls!  Saw your drink on my Gojee e-mail this morning and I was so excited!  I’ve been dying to make my own ginger ale and this looks delicious.

  5. I cook the ginger and use it for hot tea.  I use honey to sweeten mine. Recently, when my husband bought me Ginger Ale at the store we both commented on why we didn’t just mix the ginger concentrate already in the refrigerator with our soda water and make our own.  So much healthier than the store version.

  6. Soda stream is an Israeli company that operates illegal in settlements against international law. Please do not buy from them. There are alternatives.

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