The Sodastream thingy seems to be all the rage right now and having made soda from scratch previously (with yeast and all that), I was interested. Then I saw the price and size of them. I'm one of those people who do not like things out on the counter, and there are only so many kitchen gadgets that I can fit in the cabinets.
Then, while shopping at one of my favorite stores -- Williams-Sonoma -- I saw the Twist 'n Sparkle from iSi. It's smaller -- just the bottle and wand, it uses standard soda chargers, and it's relatively inexpensive at $50. And since I happened to have a gift certificate in said amount to said store -- it came home with me.
Yesterday I brewed up some ginger syrup, so that I could make my own ginger ale. All you do is peel and slice some ginger -- I didn't measure or weigh the ginger this time, but rather used the piece I happened to grab at the grocery. I'm sure it ended up being less than a cup.
I added a cup of sugar and two cups of water and simmered this mixture for about an hour. After it cooled slightly, I strained it and transferred it to a bottle and put it in the fridge to chill.
Don't toss that ginger! You can use can dredge it in some sugar and put in a cool oven (225º) for a couple hours and you'll have some tasty candied ginger as a bonus!
To make the ginger ale, I took a tall glass, added about 3 Tbsp of the chilled ginger syrup, squeezed in a quarter of a lime, filled with carbonated water -- made in my new toy -- and topped it off with ice. Very refreshing, and not too sweet. I'm looking forward to making more sodas soon.