Did you know that ginger is a distant relative of the banana? Their family reunions must be delicious...
I love ginger, it’s spicy, it’s bright, and it makes some pretty killer cookies.
Ginger was very popular in medieval Europe, which is also where the first recipes for gingerbread were originally developed. Though ginger was one of the most important spices of this period in history, one of its most popular uses did not evolve until the 19th century.
During the 19th century, English taverns began sprinkling powered ginger over their drinks and thus emerged a new sensation. That’s right, I’m talking about ginger ale. *imaginary chorus of angels*
Ginger’s unique pungency comes from “gingerols” - flavoring chemicals which are related to those of “capsaicin,” which is found in chillies, and “piperine,” which is found in black pepper. Cool, right?
I really, really like ginger ale. I want it to be icy cold and spicy. Of course I couldn’t just make ginger ale, because I am a foodie and by nature do not know how to leave things well enough alone.
And we’re off!
Where does the thyme go? In the sugar! Hahaha...sorry...
By muddling the thyme with the sugar, we release all the essential oils from the herbs into our sugar, which is going to be the base of our ginger simple syrup.
This soda is everything. Spicy ginger, aromatic, lemony thyme, and sweet, dark cherries. It’s also super pretty.
I’m kind of obsessed with the color.
This week has already packed a punch, let’s give ourselves a treat. Cheers to us!
Black Cherry & Thyme Ginger Ale
for the ginger syrup
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stem
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- 1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
In a small bowl, combine sugar and thyme. Use the tines of a fork to smash the thyme into the sugar. Set aside.
In a small saucepan combine ginger, filtered water, and the thyme and sugar mixture. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes and then remove from heat and allow to sit and steep for 30 minutes. Strain and transfer to a jar.
for the cherry base
- 1 cup frozen or fresh pitted black cherries
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons filtered water
Combine cherries, sugar, and filtered water in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook for 5-7 minutes, until a light syrup forms. Use an immersion blender to puree the cherry mixture.
- 1/2 liter of sparkling water
- ice cubes
- cherries and fresh thyme sprigs for garnish, optional
Pour 1/2 cup of the ginger syrup into the bottom of each glass. Top with 3 tablespoons of cherry puree. Add 3-4 ice cubes to each glass and top with sparkling water. Use a long-handled spoon to stir thoroughly and top with a sprig of thyme and a cherry. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
P.S. The syrup and puree can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for several days before using.