I love ginger. Can't get enough -- in savory dishes, crystallized, as a spice in baked goods, in beverages and candy there is no such thing as too much.
When I was at the Koreana Market, I picked up a bag of ginger to make my own ginger brew.
I like my ginger beverages hot, spicy and with a strong bite, so you might want to modify the directions to suit your taste. Remember you can always use less ginger brew in your soda or tea if you make it too strong, or add more sugar if you don't make the syrup sweet enough.
When you pick out ginger for this brew (or any other use), look for firm, fresh, hard pieces without bruising or mold. Avoid pieces that look wrinkled or dehydrated. Ginger keeps well in the fridge for a few weeks.
Wickedly Good Ginger Brew
This makes about 4 - 4 1/2 cups of unsweetened ginger brew. See variations below for sweetened syrup.
About 3/4 pound of whole, fresh ginger root
About 4 1/2 cups of water
Using a sturdy tablespoon, scrape the peel off the ginger roots. Slice the roots into 1/4" to 1/2" chunks.
Put in a medium saucepan and add the water. Bring to boil, cover and simmer until the ginger brew is potent enough for you. Taste periodically to see how it is. Remember it will be served diluted with water or seltzer and possibly sweetened. I left mine to simmer for almost an hour.
Remove from heat. Cool and strain, discarding ginger solids. Pour into a clean glass bottle with a lid or cap. Store in the refrigerator.
For Ginger Ale: In a large 12-ounce glass, put in sweetener to taste (sugar, sugar syrup honey, agave nectar, stevia, etc.) Add about 1/4 cup of the ginger brew and stir well until sweetener is dissolved. Add ice if desired, top with cold seltzer, stir gently. Serve.
For Ginger Tea: In a small pan, add about a half cup of ginger brew and a half cup of water. Add sweetener to taste if desired. Simmer to desired temperature, stirring occasionally.
To Make Ginger Syrup: After you have strained the liquid from the ginger solids, measure out how much of the ginger brew you want to turn into syrup and add the liquid back to the empty saucepan. Add an equal measure of sugar, honey or agave nectar (or to your taste, I usually use 1 part sugar to 2 parts ginger brew, but 1 to 1 is more traditional). Stir well. Bring back to a boil and then simmer uncovered until the sugar is fully incorporated and the brew has reduced down some. Cool and store in a glass jar or bottle with lid or cap in the refrigerator. Use cold or warm as desired. Try using in sodas, as a syrup for ice cream, waffles, etc., to flavor teas or fruit compotes or stewed fruits, etc.
Yet another good use for using seltzer!
About the photo -- My ginger brew and a glass of homemade ginger ale.