Ginger brown sugar soda, where have you been all my life? What took you so long?
It’s been a mild winter for us this year. Moving from Chicago to just about anywhere south of its latitude will guarantee a mild winter. Even though both Eat and I experienced many hearty subzero winters as children and adults, we’ve decided the cool snap of Northern California Bay area winters are laughable to call “cold” but certainly nothing to complain about when it is at its worst raining outside. I never take the sunshine for granted anymore. I never need to shovel rain. Ever.
Even with a little sun peeping through those rain clouds, whether it’s in the “cold” winter weather or in the dry heat of summer, I always think of ice cream or a tall, cool drink. This ginger brown sugar soda sundae is perfect for those of you wanting the comfort food of winter with an icy warm weather drink. Ginger, vanilla, and brown sugar are winter ingredients: Christmas gingerbread, brown sugar sweetening a winter butternut squash, or vanilla permeating every holiday dessert somehow. The coolness of the ice cream and the chilled brown sugar syrup with sparkling water make this a summer drink, through and through. We have a perfect mix of the seasons, right here in a tall glass.
Peach does not live by the seasons, and she’d have this dessert at least three times a day if she could. Through her chattering teeth, I envision she’d smile every meal, mouth sloppy with ice cream dribbles. Fortunately for me, Peach cannot live on soda and ice cream alone, lest she waste away with vitamin deficiencies and anemia, but with that sloppy smile on her face.
If you are not an ice cream lover (gasp!) or unable to to eat ice cream (I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and won’t judge you), the ginger brown sugar soda is refreshing without it. A squeeze of lime also gives it a nice, light taste.
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- 4-inch knob of fresh ginger, roughly sliced (no need to peel)
- seltzer water
- vanilla ice cream
- sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
- Make a simple syrup from the brown sugar and water: in a small saucepan, stir together water and brown sugar.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved and mixture is translucent, less than one minute. Steep sliced ginger root in the syrup just after the sugar is dissolved and off the heat.
- Cool completely and strain solids. Store in an airtight container (I use a glass jar with a good screw top). Chill for up to 6 months. Makes about 1½ cups.
- When mixing your drink, use approximately 2:5 ratio brown sugar syrup to seltzer water, depending on your desired sweetness. I used ½ cup of syrup to 1¼ cups of seltzer for a fairly sweet drink. You may want to add more seltzer if you add ice cream, so as to not overdo the sweetness. Stir well to distribute the syrup in the seltzer.
- Top with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Try not to eat too fast and suffer from brain freeze.