Good Bubbles

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We have all learned that bubbles in the market make us feel good while they grow, but then become the cause of our economic woes. I discovered another kind of bubbles that seems to have only a positive effect—homemade ginger ale. Champagne can do the same if drunk in moderation (Champagne—the drink divine; A dollar’s worth of bubbles and a dime’s worth of wine). I suspect that ginger ale’s contribution to sustainability is vanishing small, but it sounds like a step in the right direction. The Dining and Wine feature of the New York Times reports this:

At Stand, a New York bar and cafe that offers a variety of traditional beverages, ginger ale is prepared to order using seltzer from old-style bottles… Homemade sodas seem in step with the growing menu trend toward simpler, more natural foods, as well as a rising interest in locally made artisanal products, said Annika Stensson, a spokeswoman for the National Restaurant Association… “Nothing’s more local than things being made from scratch,” Ms. Stensson said.

I don’t know why Stand and the others don’t make their own fizzy water. When I visited my daughter a few months ago, I discovered a seltzer maker in the kitchen. Just place the special reusable bottle filled with water straight from the tap in the device and push the charging button. This releases carbon dioxide into the water turning it instantly to seltzer. This device is a variant of the seltzer bottle my parents used for the same purpose. It was a heavy glass container swathed in metal mesh with a valve top where a “sparklet” filled with carbon dioxide was attached. A push of a lever and voila instant seltzer.

The NYTimes article described other places and drinks based on home-made ginger ale.

Typically less sweet than store-bought sodas, the handmade ales get an added zing from fresh ginger. At Stand, it is peeled and put through a strainer to make juice, said P. J. Bodoy, the general manager. The juice is steeped with lemon juice and simple syrup. When a customer orders a ginger ale, this base is topped off with seltzer delivered by Walter Backerman, a third-generation seltzer seller.

A glass of plain ginger ale costs $6. The soda also serves as an ingredient in mixed drinks, at $9 each, like the Mr. Sunshine, made with rye, and the Dark and Stormy, made with dark rum… [Atlanta’s ]Drinkshop also offers the London Buck, which has gin, ale, lemon and, in a nod to Atlanta’s local fruit, peach juice. The cocktails run $13 each.

At these prices, homemade ginger ale and the cocktails that use it may make a miniscule contribution to ecological sustainability, but aren’t going to help those families that are hard pressed economically, but still in need of a drink.

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