Originally Posted by Yooper
Ginger ale is exceptionally easy, and it would carb up in a day or so so you could test it.
This is what I would do . .. I wouldn't mess with the other stuff.
For ginger ale, use this recipe:
Grate 2.5 oz ginger root into a pot w/ 2 quarts water.
Add juice of 1/2 lemon
Add 1 + 3/4 cup table sugar
Boil 20 mins, cover with clean (sanitized) lid and allow to cool to room temp.
Pour into 1 gallon jug. Top off with water to about 1 gallon mark (you can use tap water, or if you're paranoid, boiled chilled water). Shoot for lukewarm temperature (about 80 deg, if you're measuring) DO NOT FILTER.
Add 1/4 tsp ale yeast (or any other dry yeast you'd like. I just prefer ale yeast) If you really want, you can use 1/2 tsp, to be safe. As others have noted, it's cheap, and chances are, you never use up a packet in soda before having to toss it. So use it.
Shake 1 gallon jug vigorously to mix, and pour into bottles (2L or other, as you choose) leaving a bit of head space (but not too much).
Set bottles in a spot at about 70 Deg (room temp). Check sides of bottles after 12 hours and again at 24 hours if necessary. They should be hard by then. The longest it's ever taken me is 48 hours, but that was over a week when my house temps were down in the mid to low 60's.
Once they're hard, put in the fridge. You'll want to (GENTLY) tip the bottles a few times prior to pouring, as the "flavorings" settle to the bottom.
So basically, in the same amount of time as it takes you to make a sugar/water mixture, or a batch of Kool-Aid, you can have ginger beer.