Who knew it could be so simple to make ginger ale at home? Here’s an all-natural version, blissfully free of high-fructose corn syrup and preservatives. When I compared this homemade ginger ale to a national brand, it proved unrivaled in spicy, aromatic ginger flavor. Although the ginger syrup recipe makes enough for just four servings, it can easily be doubled. Store the remainder in the refrigerator to use whenever you crave a tall, sparkling glass of ginger ale.–Diane Morgan

*What’s the best way to grate ginger?

If you just need a little bit of ginger, then do it like you usually do—microplane, the small holes on your grater, heck, you can even just give it a scrape with the tines of a fork. But for a recipe that requires a substantial amount of ginger, you might need to pull out the microplane rather than the other options. And if all else fails, you can always use a food processor and whiz up as much ginger as you could ever desire. Bear in mind that fresh, young ginger is less fibrous and will ultimately be easier to peel in large quantities, especially if you go the microplane route.

A glass of homemade ginger ale with ice and a lime wedge, and a gar of ginger syrup in the background.

Homemade Ginger Ale

5 / 2 votes
Homemade ginger ale isn’t your run-of-the-mill, grocery store fizzy drink. This is a deeply flavored, intensely gingery and brown sugar-accented adult soda. Perfect alone or in a cocktail.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories226 kcal
Prep Time2 hours 40 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time2 hours 50 minutes


For the ginger syrup

  • 1/2 cup grated fresh ginger*, from a 6-inch (15-cm) piece
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup cold water

For the ginger ale

  • Ice cubes
  • 4 cups club soda
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 lime wedges


Make the ginger syrup

  • In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the ginger, brown sugar, and water, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let the ginger steep in the syrup until cooled to room temperature, 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a jar or container, pressing on the ginger with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Cover, and refrigerate until chilled through, 1 to 2 hours. (The syrup will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.)

Make the ginger ale

  • Fill 4 pint glasses two-thirds full of ice. Into each glass pour 3 to 4 tablespoons of the syrup, 1 cup of the club soda, 1 tablespoon of the lime juice, and 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice, and stir to combine.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: This ginger syrup packs a punch! If you’re sensitive to ginger, or prefer your ginger ale a little less spicy, start with just 3 tablespoons syrup per drink.

  • Garnish each with a lime wedge and serve immediately.

Adapted From


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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 226 kcalCarbohydrates: 58 gProtein: 1 gFat: 0.3 gSaturated Fat: 0.1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1 gSodium: 290 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 53 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2012 Diane Morgan. Photo © 2012 Antonis Achilleos. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This is gingerific! The spice from the fresh ginger can’t be matched, and I can’t imagine ever drinking it from the can again. The simple preparation leads to a really refreshing drink, one that’s perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up or an evening nightcap (just add a wee touch of rum).

It’s easy and delicious, and well worth the effort of grating the ginger. I found the balance between ginger and citrus to be close to perfect for my taste, but I LOVE ginger and didn’t want to take away from its taste. I tried adding a bit more lime, but found it to be more along the lines of a dark & stormy than a homemade ginger ale.

Clean and crisp, this homemade ginger ale makes for a great mid-summer refreshment as well as a great tonic during cold season. However, this drink is not intended for the ginger averse. The fresh ginger packs a punch and its flavor is much more pronounced than most commercial varieties.

Select a Tester

This homemade ginger ale is utterly delicious and totally worth the minimal output. I look forward to using this for cocktails as well. Great stuff.

I didn’t peel the ginger, as I saw no point in doing so. I sliced it on the mandoline using the thin setting, which worked great and wasn’t as messy/juicy if I’d done it on a box grater. Also, super-fast. The skins strained out with the solids, so definitely no need to peel. It’s a dark brown color at this point, and it definitely turns your drink on the brown side. Chilling time was one hour in the fridge in a pint mason jar. I didn’t feel any need to adjust the citrus, it was fine as is.

This is a very easy recipe to follow and put together. As described in the introduction you really cannot compare homemade ginger ale to the commercial type. I’d say that this is a very refreshing drink, perhaps even considered an adult type of ginger ale. The ginger taste is very strong and indeed there is a nice bite to it. I can also see it being good with some vodka perhaps? Or gin?

The hardest part of this recipe is grating the ginger. Even using my trusty microplane zester it took a bit to get a half cup, the taste is worth it though. I was afraid with a full cup of brown sugar the drinks would be overly sweet. Not true at all. The lemon and lime juices take care of that. Love the zing from the fresh ginger.

Hubby, daughter and I all agreed that our homemade ginger ale was even better once we squeezed our lime wedge into our drinks. Hubby seemed to like it best of all and he was really surprised since he hates club soda.

If you don’t like ginger, this certainly isn’t the recipe for you. For those of us who are ginger lovers, this is a delicious drink. All of my testers enjoyed their homemade ginger ale very much. We mixed it with lemon seltzer water (as I forgot to purchase plain). No one had comments about the balance of lemon vs. lime. I had each person mix their own ginger ale based on their own taste preference.

Real ginger ale! I love the spicy kick of ginger and this homemade ginger ale is so much better than the bland canned stuff. The brown sugar adds additional depth of flavor to the drink with the slight molasses taste and the lime adds that fresh zing to the drink.

The recipe takes a bit of time but I think that was due to me trying to find an easier way to grate that much ginger. The rest of the time is waiting for the syrup to steep or chill.

I can’t praise this homemade ginger ale recipe enough. It’s easy to prepare and creates a tingly, refreshing homemade ginger ale which, incidentally, is rather delicious with a slug of bourbon or rum.

Make sure to use fresh, firm ginger root, which will be more intense in flavor and easier to grate.

How great is homemade ginger ale?! I never thought making my own would be as easy as making gingery simple syrup and mixing it with club soda and fresh lime and lemon juices. I didn’t even bother to peel the ginger before I grated it on the big holes of my box grater.

I made my first glass of ginger ale after I let the syrup chill for about 2 hours. I thought the balance of ginger, lemon, and lime were perfect, but if I were using this ginger ale as a mixer, I’d up the ginger just a bit for more bite.

This homemade ginger ale isn’t for the faint of heart or those wishing to recreate store bought ginger ale!

The ginger syrup was easy to prepare and smelled wonderful while it simmered. I strained it into a bowl and placed the bowl into some ice water and it was perfectly cold within a few minutes. As a general rule I don’t put hot food in the refrigerator to cool it, especially in a covered container as the recipe suggests.

When assembling the homemade ginger ale, I found it far easier to put the soda in first and then the syrup. The recipe has the syrup added first and it wasn’t as easy to incorporate it. I liked the splash of lemon and lime. I did reduce the lime to 1 teaspoon per glass.

On a side note, my husband was having some stomach troubles and he found the drink quite soothing and refreshing. While he wasn’t looking a splash of dark rum fell into my drink and I had an excellent dark and stormy!

I’m not much of a soda drinker but I love ginger. The recipe for homemade ginger ale was very simple to make, although you need to make sure you have enough ginger root. I used about an 8-inch knob of ginger to get 1/2 cup grated.

After letting it cool in the pan for 30 minutes, I strained the syrup through a towel. At this point, it was cool enough to use for the soda, but I discovered I was out of ice cubes! While I was waiting, I mixed one part ginger syrup with two parts vodka straight from the freezer and added a lemon twist. Nice!

Once the ice was frozen, I made the soda itself, and it was very pleasant and well balanced. Not too sweet. I might add more ginger next time. The soda practically screams for a shot of rum and a hot July day by the ocean. Just sayin’.

This is a good deal of work, but the results are fun and worth the effort. Who knew how much ginger it would take to get to a 1/2 cup grated? It was two 1 1/2 inch thick, 3 inch long fingers to get me there.

The homemade ginger ale itself is very refreshing. It has a slightly peppery flavor with a great balance of lime to lemon. You don’t have to wait too long to enjoy your drink. The base I made cooled within 2 hours. Everything else is a snap, blends well, and makes for a nice presentation.

Here I sit taking a break and enjoying my homemade ginger ale. I made half of the recipe because grating a full cup of fresh ginger takes a while even with a ginger grater. My kitchen was full of the fragrance of the ginger.

I tried the syrup alone and it’s really great. I think I’ll put some in hot tea next time. I thought I’d prefer it without the lime and lemon, but it works well. We are having a warm spell here in Louisiana so this was a treat I will definitely make again.

How much fun to make your own homemade ginger ale?! So amazing and a wonderful burst of flavor because of the fresh ginger! After making the syrup, it took about 45 minutes to cool to room temperature. I chilled it in the refrigerator (took a good hour) and then mixed in the rest of the ingredients. I thought the lemon and lime amount were right on, however, I think additional syrup really makes it taste like ginger ale.

I actually made this recipe twice, once with light brown sugar per the recipe, and then again using dark brown sugar… (I’m a sucker for Vernors). The flavors were slightly different but both were delicious. Go ahead, give it a try!

When you read the label on many bottles of commercial ginger ale, you sometimes have to look hard to find ginger. Or, the list of ingredients is so strange that you aren’t really sure what you are drinking. Even some of the so-called natural products taste so strange that they’re undrinkable. I’ve tried some local varieties from around the country and many of them are often too spicy. I’ve often tried to make my own versions, but haven’t used enough ginger and used white sugar. It never quite comes out the way it I want it to.

I think the secret here is the amount of ginger and the use of brown sugar. There’s a depth of sweetness and spice that I’ve never tasted in homemade ginger ale. When I first had a taste of the syrup, I thought it might be too intense. But after adding the lime and lemon juice and the club soda, it came together as an extremely pleasant and refreshing drink. I think this ginger ale is perfect for several cocktail recipes and will try it in place of ginger beer to see how it works in Moscow mules.

I found that it took about 80 minutes to become really well chilled. I was impatient, but this is well worth the wait!

I made two batches of this recipe this week because we had guests. In the first test batch, using the recipe as written the ginger flavor was too pronounced for all four of us. While I adore ginger, it was too much even for me (in a drink). The hot kick after was slightly too much. So, in the second batch I did the same process except used a scant 3 tablespoons of the ginger syrup per serving.

After tasting, I squeezed a bit of both lemon and lime juices to increase the citrus element. This was far more preferable to all of us because we got the strong ginger flavor with some kick but in a more refreshing ginger ale way. It was definitely drinkable using the recipe as it was and actually very good; it is just that the second batch with less ginger simple syrup was better. We all loved the fizziness you would expect from the ginger ale we are used to.

Verdict? One guest preferred commercial ginger ale; the others (including myself) preferred this version. I mean, who gets to drink homemade ginger ale? If you come to my house, you will. It will be particularly delicious to enjoy this on a hot summery day with a bit of fresh mint muddled into the drink. The ultimate in refreshment!

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I just had my first sip of this gingery ginger ale, and it was better than the Jamaican-style ginger ale that I buy in four packs for a small fortune. The syrup was quite dark when it was boiling, and the aroma was intense, so I knew it was going to be great. It does have a kick, and a little goes a long way as a mixer.
    I was making one of my all-time favorite soups -Carrot and Red Lentil from this site. I had a knob of fresh ginger and wanted to make something with it and this ginger ale recipe looked interesting.