One of my favorite things to do in Las Vegas (believe it or not) is to sit at the bar at Sensi and have a glass of their fresh homemade ginger ale. It’s tangy, only a touch sweet, and incredibly refreshing. Seeing as there are about 250 miles between home and the Bellagio, however, the closest I can get most days is to make my own. If you have a Soda Stream machine, this is a perfect use for it (as opposed to flavoring your water with the pre-made syrups). Otherwise, club soda will do.

I’ve had this recipe for years and no longer remember where I found it. If anyone knows the source, I’d be delighted to add a credit and link here! And for an even bolder recipe than the one below (with lemongrass and chiles), check out Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s version via Kahakai Kitchen.

Fresh Ginger Ale

2 C (about 10 oz) peeled ginger, coarsely chopped
3 strips lemon peel, about 4″ long each, yellow part only
1.5 C sugar

  • Combine ginger, lemon peel and 4 cups water in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil gently, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in sugar and continue boiling until mixture is reduced to 3 cups, about 15 minutes longer.
  • Pour mixture through a fine wire strainer set over a bowl. Discard peel; reserve ginger for another use* or discard.
  • Cool syrup, cover, and chill until cold, at least one hour or up to one week.
  • To serve: In a 16-oz glass, mix 1/4 C ginger syrup with 1 cup cold carbonated water / club soda. Add ice, and more ginger syrup and/or sugar to taste. Or – as they do at Sensi – sprinkle a pinch of ground cayenne on top. Yum.

Per serving: 100 calories, 26 g carbohydrates.

*Refrigerate leftover cooked ginger, if desired, and stir into softened vanilla ice cream or sprinkle over yogurt or sliced bananas.