Homemade Ginger Syrup (and fun drinks to make with it)

Today is cold. It’s snowing. The outside world is monochromatic and drab. Just beyond my window, Chicago’s iconic Sears Tower is mostly hidden — tucked behind nature’s overcast curtain.


Inside, I sit with a mug of tea (a craft beer mug, of course), hoping it’ll a) help chase away the cold I’ve been battling and b) keep me warm. And this time of year, in the midwest anyway, we’re always looking for something warm — something to help us forget that we’re in the midst of a four-or-so month stretch of less-than-ideal weather.


And ginger is just the thing. It takes you away to somewhere far more tropical, and it has just the right amount of spicy kick. And not only is it great in food, but it’s awesome in drinks, too. I’ve always loved ginger tea and ginger ale, but I recently began playing around with other things gingery. Homemade ginger syrup, specifically. It’s so easy to make and can be used a hundred different ways — below are a few of my favorites. But let’s start with the basic syrup.

Homemade Ginger Syrup

What you need:

  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 inches (or so) of ginger root, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks

How you do it:

  1. Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a whisk to help the sugar dissolve.
  2. Add the ginger and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let the ginger steep for a few hours (or overnight).
  3. Strain ginger syrup through a sieve lined with cheesecloth to remove all the ginger and the little bits left behind. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

OK, you’ve got your syrup. So now what? Ginger ale seems like an obvious choice.

homemade ginger ale from freshandfoodie.com @freshandfoodie

Easy Homemade Ginger Ale

What you need (makes one drink):

  • 1/4 cup of homemade ginger syrup (or more, if you prefer it sweeter)
  • The juice of half a lime, plus lime slices for garnish
  • Three drops of Bittercube Jamaician #2 bitters (optional, of course, but the grapefruity, gingery kick is a nice touch)
  • Seltzer water

How you do it:

  1. For each drink, fill a 12-ounce glass with ice, add homemade ginger syrup, lime juice and bitters. Top with seltzer water and a slice of lime.

If you prefer your ginger on the boozy side (we are talking about warmth here, you know), you’re in luck — the options for using homemade ginger syrup in cocktails is endless. Here are a few of my current favorites:

the triple ginger from freshandfoodie.com @freshandfoodie

The Triple GINger (named by yours truly, but inspired by a cocktail I recently had at Embeya)

What you need (makes one drink):

  • 3 or 4 ounces of ginger beer (I used Goose Island Spicy Ginger Beer)
  • 1.5 ounces of gin
  • .5 ounces homemade ginger simple syrup
  • The juice of half a lime, plus lime slices for garnish

How you do it:

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice (or a large “whiskey ice,” which is what I used) and rim the edge of the glass with lime.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake firmly a few times, then strain into your glass. Garnish with a slice of lime.

You didn’t think I’d leave out whiskey, did you? Anyone whose been following this blog knows that I’m a big whiskey fan, and I’m always up for a good old fashioned. In fact, last year I took a class so I could learn how to make them at home. I blogged about that class here, and those learnings helped influence this next cocktail — the Ginger Old Fashioned.

ginger old fashioned from freshandfoodie.com @freshandfoodie

Ginger Old Fashioned

What you need:

*Not all bitters come with droppers. If using bottled bitters, one dropper equals about 7 drops.

 How you do it:

  1. Follow the instructions listed here, but swap the homemade ginger syrup in place of the demerara simple syrup*, and the Jamaican #2 bitters in place of the orange bitters.

*The Perfect Old Fashioned recipe calls for 1/4 ounce of simple syrup, but I like using more here to let the ginger flavor really comes through.

Part of the fun of simple syrups is experimenting, and I’m always up for suggestions and ideas. What are your favorite gingery foods and drinks? Feel free to share some inspiration below.

14 thoughts on “Homemade Ginger Syrup (and fun drinks to make with it)

  1. My mom, who is from Hawaii, smashes ginger with the bottom of a heavy glass (kind of like you do with garlic and a knife) to help with the peeling. If I’m needing to grate the ginger, I don’t bother peeling it. I just cut off a bit of a skin to expose the flesh and start grating. Works especially well with a microplane.
    Great post, Bobbi! Happy New Year!

  2. Only recently I have ordered a “winter tea” in a local cafe… It cointained honey, lemon and ginger. Plus, it made me feel sooo cosy! This one shall be similar, I guess. I love your blog by the way. Can’t wait to try out some of the recipes!

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