This recipe is part of a Wanderlust TV series, Play With Your Food.
Real ginger ale involves some serious brewing, but it’s simple and fun to grate fresh ginger and squeeze out the powerful juice. Sweeten it a bit, mix in some sparkling water, and garnish with gorgeous herbal ice cubes.
16 fresh leaves or tiny sprigs of lemon verbena, mint, or thyme
1 (3-inch) knob of fresh ginger
½ cup granulated sugar or honey
For the ice cubes, fill an ice cube tray with water. Lay a single leaf or a tiny sprig across each cube well. Freeze.
Using a spoon, peel the ginger. Grate it on a rasp-style grater. Wrap the grated ginger in a small piece of cheesecloth and squeeze out all the juice into a cup.
Make a quick syrup by combining the sugar and ½ cup of water in a small pot set over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely, then remove from the heat and let cool.
Pour about 2 teaspoons of ginger juice into each of 4 tall glasses. Add about 2 tablespoons of syrup and stir to combine. Place a few herbal ice cubes in each glass. Top off with sparkling water.
Maria Zizka is a Berkeley-born food writer, cookbook collaborator, and recipe developer. Most recently she co-authored the forthcoming Sqirl cookbook, Everything I Want to Eat, which will be published by Abrams in fall 2016. She is currently working with Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson of Tartine Bakery.