There is a restaurant in Chicago called Big Bowl. I went there with my sister, Allie, and this wonderful older woman named Suzanne. My sister used to work for her and she was just fabulous. Ok, so Big Bowl is a great thai/chinese restaurant and I have no idea what I ate there, but they had homemade ginger ale and it was simply to die for. Whenever I go back, even if we aren’t eating there, I walk in and order ginger ale to go from the bar. (I’m sure no one else ever does that!) It is fresh and not too sweet and super gingery. Delicious! I’ve never had anything like it. Until the other day. I was visiting my brother at his new bar, The Next Door Bar & Grill, and he handed me a drink and didn’t tell me what it was. Ginger ale. Homemade. DELICIOUS! Just like Big Bowl. So Good! So of course I freaked out, drank it so fast, asked him how he made it, demanded the recipe, and decided to make it right away.

Its super easy, an I’m still tweaking the recipe. My brother really helped me with it so he might have some more input, but here’s what I’ve got so far.

Ginger Simple Syrup

1 C sugar
1 C water
1 large fresh ginger root (about 2 C rough chopped)
a few cloves
small cinnamon stick
pinch of cardamom

Put all ingredients into a saucepan and simmer for about 1 hour. Stir occasionally. Store in a jar or airtight container.

Ginger Ale

1 small can club soda
4 T ginger simple syrup
6 ice cubes
tall glass

In a large glass combine soda, ginger simple syrup, and ice. Stir. Enjoy! You can add a few fresh mint or basil leaves if you like a tad of savoriness.