It’s just tooo hot. This weekend was a great lay-on-the-boat-and-do-nothing weekend. I only wish I were there. Instead, I’m running around trying to help my friend move away. And helping my new daughter (given to me for a year by same friend) move into our home. And going through the usual musical rooms routine that we seem to do every few months. In and out of the attic with furniture that is just “wrong”, rotating with furniture that might be alright. All in a home that was built 110 years ago, before central ac, when insulation was one of those new-fangled things that would never catch on. In short: It’s just tooo hot.
I shouldn’t whine. At this very moment, I’m taking a break in front of a window fan with a tall, chilly glass of my new favorite (non-alcoholic) beverage. Homemade ginger beer. Sugar free. Oh my.
For about 10 years I was a Girl Scout leader. I never liked scouting when I was a kid. Then it meant weekly lectures and coloring. Blah. When I got to be the leader, though, I made the rules. We got to do things. Real things. We made things to sell for real money.
Then we donated some, and with the rest we went apple picking. Every fall.
But mostly we went camping. A lot. I loved it. It was everything Girl Scouts was not in my childhood. We mostly stayed in tents like this one, just high enough above the lake to enjoy some nice cool breezes at night. Always sleep with your tent flaps open. Trust me on this one. And beware of the prankster- every encampment has one. This was ours. I am seeing this photo and it just takes me right back there. She’s a hoot. I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun we had together. If the GS nazi’s new they’d ban us from scouting for life. Maybe two lifetimes.
It was on one of our many, many camping trips that I discovered Ginger Beer. One of those hot, steamy days when the last thing I wanted to do was go off camp to a market. We must have needed something dreadfully, because off I went. There, in the (maybe 40 sq foot) so-called market, I bought an icy cold one. I was hooked.
I’ve toyed with the idea of making my own ginger beer many times. The image of dozens of glass bottles exploding in my pantry has held me back. Recently, I found a recipe for homemade ginger ale at MyOldSchool.com. This recipe involved simmering ginger and making a syrup, which was then added to seltzer. How absolutely brilliant!!! No fermenting. No exploding glass. I decided to adapt this, make it a bit stronger and sugar free, to create a sugar free ginger beer syrup.
Start by peeling 2 pounds of ginger. It’s really easy; just scrape the outer skin with the side of a spoon and it slips right off. After peeling, slice all of the ginger and place it in a saucepan, just barely covering it with water.
Simmer for about 45 minutes, do not bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cover with a lid. After it cooled I refrigerated overnight. The next morning, I strained it (save ginger and candy it later) and added the Stevia, whisking gently over low heat until it had completely dissolved. After cooling, It’s ready to use.
Fill a large glass with ice. Add 1/2 of a lime (squeeze that thing for all it’s worth). Pour around 1/4 full with syrup. Top off with seltzer. You can use more syrup, or less if you prefer. It’s so gingery and refreshing. Takes me right back to that first icy cold ginger beer, lying on a cot in a tent with a gentle breeze off the lake.