I have spoken before of the wonders of The Northstar Cafe. It’s a true Columbus gem and every time I get to dine at this wonderful establishment, I am never let down. Whether it be their vegetarian burger, rustic tomato soup, barbecue chicken flatbread, chopped salads, or their voluptuous cookies, I am always so impressed with the flavors of their menu items. They have developed the perfect equation for showcasing fresh and organic foods without being overly complicated or too trendy. The ingredients they select are the stars of the show and I really admire and appreciate the effort they put into their food.
Without a doubt, though, my favorite creation from Northstar is their fresh ginger ale. I first laid my lips on this sweet nectar two summers ago and I was never the same after that moment. It was a magnificent fusion of spicy ginger, tart lime juice, and a hint of refreshing mint. Pure genius.
I attempted to recreate the concoction at home several times and I finally found a method that I liked, but it was still missing that extra Northstar sparkle. The ginger just wasn’t as sharp as I knew it could be. Nonetheless, I made the ginger ale several times since settling on that recipe until I finally decided to try tweaking things to take the ginger flavor to the next level. All I did was allow myself more time for the flavors to develop. I put the chunks of ginger, water, and sugar in a pot on the stove to heat to a rolling boil. Then I turned off the stove, removed the pot from the heat, and let the syrup to steep overnight. The result? A much greater ginger punch without any hint of bitterness and a truly divine drink.
Cheers to the great people at Northstar Cafe for their fresh ginger ale! My heart is happy.
Fresh Ginger Ale
Yield: Approximately 12 drinks
- 2 arms of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 5 cups water
- 1 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice (8-10 limes)
- 5-6 sprigs fresh mint
- 1 liter club soda
1. Place the water, chunks, of ginger, and sugar in a medium-sized pot and heat over medium heat on the stove. Bring to a rolling boil and then remove from heat and allow to steep for at least 2 hours (or overnight).
2. In a separate small bowl, add the mint leaves and lime juice. Muddle the mint with a wooden spoon to incorporate the flavor into the lime juice.
3. Add the ginger syrup to a pitcher. Add in the lime/mint mixture and stir to combine. Chill and serve with club soda, to taste (I prefer 1 part ginger syrup to 2 parts club soda.
Source: Inspired by The Northstar Cafe