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A cocktail for that heartbreak

I try to keep this blog all about the food. But today is one of those days where I cannot ignore real life. Most days real life is designing websites and working with cool people. It is brewing beer with coworkers and grabbing drinks with friends.

Today’s real life was filled with heart break. Blondie ended our 3 and a half year relationship. I am going to go to bed for the first time in almost 4 years without talking to him before I go to sleep. We will hopefully be friends. But today I can’t be. Today, I need to be sad. In real life and blog life. (side note –  please do not bash Blondie or tell him what he is missing, he is still a good person with a big heart and a smile that can light up a room. Just because our time together is over doesn’t mean he deserves any ill-wishes).

I am trying to “smile because it happend, not cry because it’s over”. But I think that is going to take time. Right now, I need to escape. I need to escape to where I have control and no one can make me sad. I need to take some time in the kitchen.

When I am in the kitchen, my brain quiets, the world slips away. The hum of old faithful is hypnotizing. The motions of baking are calming. When my world starts to crumble, I can find refuge in my kitchen. Worries and stress melt away. There are no clients to please or deadlines to hit. There are no time budgets to watch.

It is just me, old faithful and some kitchen magic.

I just hope there is enough magic in the kitchen in the coming days. I have never had to cook away a broken heart before.

People have suggested wine and chocolate. But I know I just need a hug and a bourbon. Ok, I need an endless supply of hugs, someone to squeeze my hand and tell me that I can conquer this too, and an endless supply of homemade ginger ale to go with my bourbon.

gluten free ginger syrup ginger ale

You also might notice that this is not mexican fruit salad and grilled fish. I felt the need to live on ice cream. (Project info is after the recipe).

Homemade ginger ale with a kick
#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Beverage
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 2 mins
Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour 32 mins
Serves: 8
Ginger ale is probably my all time favorite soda. It is spicy, not too sweet and goes well with bourbon. This version calls for a little extra kick to give it that special something extra. It is best served with a squeeze of lime. Adapted from Joy the Baker.
  • 250 grams (2 cups) coarsely chopped ginger You don’t need to peel it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 400 grams (2 cups) granulated sugar
  • 6 cups (1 1/2 Liters) water
  1. Place ginger into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times. You want to get maximum surface area.
  2. In a medium to large sauce pot, combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Once the sugar is dissolved, let the pot boil away, uncovered and undisturbed for about an hour and a half. You want to have about 2 cups of liquid.
  4. Once the syrup has reduced by half, strain out the ginger by pouring the syrup through a fine strainer.
  5. To use this to make soda, add 2-4 tablespoons to 12 ounces of sparkling water (I used my soda stream to make it). Finish with a slice of lime and, if you are in need of a cocktail, a shot of bourbon.
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This post is part of the Food Matters Project, a cooking collaboration from a wide range of food bloggers. Each week, I will cook a recipe from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook, which places an emphasis on mindful and sustainable eating. Follow along with us! My posts for this project can be found here. This month’s host is Sarah who posted the original recipe and you can see all the other brilliant salsas on this week’s roundup (check the comments).


  1. Margarita says:

    I am sorry to hear about your heartbreak… it is never an easy thing… Hope things work out for you both and if not… there’s plenty of fish in the sea (sorry, that’s probably the last thing you want to hear, but it’s true). Just keep doing what you love doing, keep busy, and eventually someone will come and make you smile again. 🙂

  2. Marcia says:

    I’m so sorry you’re going through a rough time. Your point about finding solace in the kitchen is so true. Curling up in a culinary fetal position is good for you at times like this. That, and a good stiff drink, of course. I hope your pain eases as quickly as possible. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hi Mary Fran,

    I’m sorry to hear the news. Thinking of you. I know it’s tough now, but so are you. In my experience, all relationships (including tough breakups) help make us the people we’re meant to be, and help lead us—eventually—to the person we’re meant to be with. In the meantime, enjoy that bourbon.


    • maryfran says:

      Thank you for your support! I ended up taking almost a month to get myself together, but I am back and better than ever!

      (Oh, and I owe you an email, I will write you one in the morning)

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