Ginger Beer

Has been the new craze for the past few summers. It adds a whole new element to your beverage selection, but it is very expensive AND there is no alcohol! Therefore, I can’t justify the purchase. Instead, I will walk you through how to easily make this at home. It is a labor of love and something you need to plan ahead for. You should allow your concoction to ferment for three days before serving.

If you are having a few friends over, this is a HUGE money saver by taking the time to make this for your party versus buying ginger beer. Ginger root is inexpensive, considering you can make a 2-liter of ginger beer at home for about the price of one bottle of store bought. Plus, your friend will be so proud of your “brewing” skillz. This is also a delicious and refreshing, non-alcoholic drink for those who chose to wonder sober in a drunken forest.

I do encourage you to try a few varieties of the professionally brewed stuff. There are several brands out there and they are all great. It will also inspire you to make a kick-ass ginger beer at home – because you can.

Ginger root also has killer health benefits. I am currently obsessed with ginger root in my fruit juices (or cocktails). I love the spice it adds. Ginger is said to be a natural remedy for an upset stomach. Which if you had a few too many to drink last night, this ginger beer in your cocktail kills two birds!

There are other ways to make ginger-ale or ginger beer. The prolonged fermentation is what makes ginger-ale into ginger beer. You can make a faster version of this by making a simple syrup with water, lemon, sugar and ginger. Then add club soda to it. I found the flavors weren’t nearly close to those professional bottled brands I mentioned you should try for inspiration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:
1 ¼ cup fresh ginger, grated
8 cups spring or well water
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon cream of tartar – or baking soda
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon active dry yeast

Directions:

  1. Use a box grated to grate the ginger root. Don’t bother to peel it, just grate it. You will strain all of the bits out later.
  2. In a medium sauce pan combine 4 cups of filtered water, ginger, cream of tarter, and lemon juice. Bring everything up to a full boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low and add the sugar and the remaining 4 cups of water. You want a steady simmer. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and continue cooking for 20 minutes to steep the ginger.
  3. Turn the heat off and allow the liquid to cool to room temperature. Strain the liquid into another bowl or pot using a fine mesh strainer to filter out all of the ginger and lemon particles. Add the yeast and allow the mixture to sit for a minimum of 3 hours. Cover with a tea towel and put in a dark place.
  4. After at least three hours you can transfer the liquid to a 2-liter bottle or 2 1- liter bottles. Use a funnel so you don’t lose any of that liquid you worked so hard to make! Be sure not to fill the bottles all the way to the top…see IMPORTANT notes below.
  5. Place the bottle(s) is a cool dark place. You will need to check the bottles twice a day, and unscrew the cap(s) to release the pressure build up. Slowly unscrew the cap and allow the fizzy air to release. Don’t open the cap all the way, just enough to release some pressure. Allow to sit for 3 days for best results, but don’t forget to check on it twice a day.

SUPER-DUPER IMPORTANT NOTES:

**Unless you really enjoy cleaning up explosive glass and sticky liquids, do NOT use glass bottles to store your ginger beer. Plastic is more forgiving when the fermentation builds up. Glass, not so much.

**If you forget to release the pressure in your bottle(s), things could violent.

**Do not put your face directly over the cap when unscrewing the cap, especially if you haven’t released the pressure in a few days. Have you ever had a champagne cork shoot off while you were holding it? Scary stuff.

**After three days of fermenting, you can put the bottle(s) in the refrigerator. This will slow down the fermentation process, but keep the yeast live. Don’t forget to release the pressure still at least once a day.

The faster – less fun version:
1 1/4c grated ginger
1 1/2 c sugar
1/2c lemon juice
8cups of club soda (just shy of a 2-liter bottle)

Directions:

  1. Grate ginger using a box grater, no need to peel it. Just grate it. Combine water, sugar and ginger into a sauce pan and bring to a simmer.
  2. Cook for 20 minutes. Then add Lemon juice. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
  3. Allow the syrup to cool for at least 15 minute and then strain into a serving bottle or pitcher. Add 8 cups, just shy of 2-liters of a good quality club soda. Or you can add the syrup into its own bottle, and then when it is time to serve, you can add 3T of syrup to a glass, then the club soda and ice.

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