You’ll find this base, nothing more than a ginger-flavored simple syrup, tastes great in all sorts of drinks; it’s also nice brushed on to hot candied-ginger muffins. If you have easy access to an Asian market, get your ginger there. The quick turnover gives you a better chance of getting fresh, juicy ginger.

Yield: About 3 1/2 cups

About 1/2 pound ginger

2 cups sugar

3 cups water

Peel and slice the ginger about 1/4″ thick (this doesn’t need to be exact). Turn your knife on its side over the ginger and bang on it with your fist to smash the ginger slightly.

In a medium saucepan, bring the suga, water and ginger to a simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Keep at a fairly fast simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and chill.

To make ginger ale, mix syrup to taste with chilled club soda and a squirt or two of lime or lemon juice.

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