Northstar Cafe Fresh Ginger Ale: Version 2.0

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

22 Comments Add yours

  1. Hedgey says:

    What does “two arms” of ginger mean? Could you put it in terms of cups or weight? Thank you and excited to try it.

    1. Lolly says:

      Hi Hedgey- I usually just use about 1 cup of chopped fresh ginger. Hope this helps. Good luck and enjoy!

    2. Anthony Patch says:

      What sugar gets the best results: plain, from a 5-pound bag of white cane sugar at the local market?

      1. Lolly says:

        Hi, I have always used the typical white, granulated sugar found in grocery stores. Good luck!

  2. Kristen says:

    I’ve been returning to Northstar primarily for their ginger ale for years, but at over $4/glass, it’s not something I can exactly get my fill of. I made the ginger syrup yesterday and concocted the final product tonight along with a bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup and I experienced nirvana. This ginger ale is absolutely perfect. Sweet, spicy, citrusy, minty, fizzy… SO GOOD!! Thank you a million times over for this recipe! I will make this again and again and recommend it to any and all Columbus friends who also enjoy Northstar’s painfully overpriced ginger ale!

    1. Lolly says:

      Kristen- you are so welcome! I am so glad you like the recipe. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  3. Meg says:

    Love this stuff at Northstar! Did you strain the ginger in this recipe as well? Thanks for doing all the experiments!

    1. Lolly says:

      Hi meg! Yes- I strain the ginger syrup after it’s done steeping just to make sure there aren’t any extra pieces in the drink. Enjoy!

      1. Meg says:

        Thank you! I made it this weekend and it was great. I am totally addicted now. . . what a great refreshing drink for summer!

  4. We made this recipe last month, and are making a double batch for my birthday cookout this weekend. We love the recipe – though it’s definitely better a couple days after making it, as the ginger starts to come through more.
    Thanks so much for posting! (And yes, it’s amazing with rum or sugar cane vodka!)

    1. Lolly says:

      So glad you liked it! I’m thinking it’s time to make another batch in our household. I hope you have a great birthday celebration 🙂

  5. I went to Northstar for my birthday over the weekend and just HAD to find a recipe for their Ginger Ale! Can’t wait to try this! 🙂 Nice photos by the way!

    1. Lolly says:

      Isn’t Northstar the best? I hope you like this version. Good luck!

  6. Liz Rohr says:

    Omg- went to northstar for the 1st time today- best ginger ale evvveerrrrrr (; I’m going to try your recipe tomorrow!

    1. Lolly says:

      I, too, love the ginger ale. I hope you like this version. 🙂

  7. hadley says:

    I love this! I really really adore ginger ale and the good kind is too expensive. This is fabulous.

  8. khaki says:

    a nittle spash of vodka?? perfect coaktail!

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