From Too Many Chefs -

April 26, 2006
Fankhauser put to the test (gingerly)

Among my favorite non-blogging food pages is David Fankhauser's Cheese page. Fankhauser, a professor of biology and chemistry at Cincinnati's Clermont College provides instructions for making all sorts of cheeses and a couple of soft drinks as well. Basically, if it ferments or if yeast or rennet is involved, Fankhauser's your man.

One of his soft drink recipes is for homemade ginger ale. I don't drink sugared sodas much, but I've always been a fan of ginger ale and with a simple recipe like Fankhauser's I couldn't resist trying.

So here's day one of my test of David Fankhauser's ginger ale recipe.

It all starts with sugar. Ever wonder how much sugar is in that two liter of pop? Try 1 cup. That's what we start with, mixed with 1/4 teaspoon of granular baker's yeast.

Kind of a lot, eh? Well the rest of the ingredients in this recipe are much more wholesome. I'll use a microplane grater to grate up 2 tablespoons of ginger, and mix it with the juice of one lemon. Stir this up into a slurry and funnel it into the bottle.

(By the way, I've already learned a valuable lesson from this adventure. I need a funnel. The piece of paper rolled into a cone and pressed to serve works fine for dry ingredients, but it doesn't like slurry so much. Still, perseverence got all the goop in the bottle.)

Fill the rest of the bottle up with clean pure cold water and invert it several times to dissolve the sugar. I discovered a lemon seed floating in my bottle. We'll see how that affects the final product.

Make sure you leave about an inch of air in the top as "head space". With luck, our yeastie beasties will love this sugar filled environment and will produce lots and lots of CO2. It will also produce a tiny bit of alcohol, but we're all adults here, and it's not very much after all (about .4% according to Fankhauser).

Place the bottle in a warm place for 24-48 hours. I'm choosing near the radiator.

It's been just cold enough in Chicago that we still have the heat on. It's certainly warmer than anywhere else in the house. I know because I frequently find the cats curled up around this particular radiator

We'll check back in in 2 days to see if the experiment was a success or if it's a bust. Stay tuned.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at April 26, 2006 5:35 AM

One thing that caught my eye on a Per Se menu was a simple gin and tonic, but using an in-house tonic. I imagine it's so much better than the store bought. Ginger ale even more so since we've strayed quite a bit from what ginger ale really is. It's all artificial flavoring now.

Posted by Justin on April 26, 2006 at 7:59 AM

Hmmm. Yeast in soda? I'm not a big soda drinker. Is that really how soda gets carbonated? Tell you what, I'm not rushing out for any just now, but I'm curious to see how your experiment turns out. Next will you make ginger beer?

Posted by Monica on April 26, 2006 at 4:09 PM

It's hot here, so I squish my soda bottle a little before capping it. Otherwise it might explode.

Posted by Sherri on May 18, 2006 at 3:44 PM

I've been making ginger drink for years that I originally found in the Plain Dealer food page. 1/4 lb. grated ginger,1 qt.boiling water, 2 c. sugar and 1/4c lime juice. let sit out fro 3 days and then put in fridge. but a bit of yeast?? Very interesting. This makes for a strong potion and usually needs to be diluted with water 2+:1. A bit of rum if you wish. Give it a try.

Posted by Peter on November 17, 2012 at 6:41 PM