Lemon Grass & Ginger Soda

Recipe is by Thomas Register, beverage specialist with Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group, New Orleans.

1/2 cup thinly sliced peeled ginger

4 plump stalks for fresh lemon grass, cut into 2-inch lengths and smashed, plus stalks for garnish

6 cups water

1 cup sugar

3 tbls. fresh squeezed lemon juice

Lemon wheels and ice cubes, for serving

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the sliced ginger with the smashed lemon grass and 4 cups of the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the sugar. Cover and let the ginger-lemon grass syrup steep off the heat until cool, about 2 hours.

2. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard the ginger and lemon grass. Stir in the lemon juice and the remaining 2 cups of water. Refrigerate until chilled.

3. Pour into tall glasses over ice and garnish with lemon wheels and lemon grass stalks.

Make ahead: The recipe can be prepared through Step 2; refrigerate up to 5 days.