Shhh Dont Tell Anyone Ok

     I’m going to let you all in on a little secret!  I am about to share with you the absolute best ginger beer recipe I have ever tasted.  Once you’ve made this you’ll never go back to ordinary ginger beer!  This drink is quite easy to make, it takes a little time to get it all happening, but is well worth   the effort.  Oh how refreshing and thirst quenching a cool glass of homemade ginger beer is on a hot summer day, any day actually!  Well we best get down to business and go about spreading the word on how to make this lovely drink.  The proper way!

     Right!  You’ll need to gather up a few items before we begin.  The first thing we’ll need is a clean, airtight jar.  Something with a screw on lid, an empty glass coffee jar will be perfect.  Your airtight container needs to be able to hold about three or four cups of liquid. 

     Next thing on the list of things to find is a large, clean vessel to mix things up in when we get to the bottling stage.  A ten litre plastic bucket will do the job, of course if you happen to have an old home brew barrel that would be even better since they have a tap.  But that is not crucial. A bucket will do just fine.

     Empty longneck beer bottles, the big ones. You will need about a dozen of them, or two dozen smaller beer bottles will do if you have trouble finding the big ones.  Brown glass is the best to get. Clear glass lets too much light into your drink.  To go with your bottles you’ll need some crown seals and a bottle capper.  These won’t cost you much and can be found online or at your local brew shop.

Lets Get Started

     So now we have all the items you’ll need at various stages throughout the process of making your homemade ginger beer.  Let’s get on with gathering up the ingredients you’ll need to make your ginger beer plant.  That’s right a plant!  One of the best things about this recipe is that when you’ve made your first batch you’ll be able to divide your plant in two.   Then you can give half to a friend to start them off making their own homemade ginger beer too.  This is what you’ll need to do.

     Put 8 sultanas, the juice of 2 lemons and 1 teaspoon of lemon pulp into your clean, airtight jar.  To that, add a further 4 teaspoons of sugar, 2 teaspoons of ground ginger and 2 cups of cold water.  Screw the lid on nice and tight and sit it in a warm place if you can. Maybe somewhere in the kitchen would be a good spot.  In two or three days, in warm weather, it should start to ferment.  Now, each day for a period of one week, add 2 small teaspoons of ground ginger and 4 small teaspoons of sugar to your plant.  After it has been fed for a week it is ready to make your ginger beer!

Credit: Image courtesy of pia_work

The Method To Our Madness

     Ok to make your refreshing ginger flavoured beverage you will need 4 cups of sugar, 4 cups of boiling water and the juice of 4 lemons.  Put the sugar and boiling water into your clean bucket or barrel you gathered up earlier and add the lemon juice.  Now take your plant and strain this, through a piece of muslin or a clean tea towel, into the bucket.  Squeeze all the moisture out of your plant and put that to the side.  Give your beer a quick stir with a clean wooden spoon and then add 28 cups of cold water.  Give your beer another quick stir and then bottle and cap it with your crown seals.  A funnel is handy for this bit. 

     Make sure your bottles are clean and sterile.  Fill them with boiling water, wait a minute, then empty and leave to dry or you can use sodium percarbonate powder, available from home brew supply shops.

     It will make about 12 bottles, be careful to leave a little room at the top of the bottle for your beer to “work” in.  About an inch or so (3cm) from the top is good place to start.  If you fill them to the brim there is a good chance you’ll be woken up one night to the sound of your bottles of ginger beer exploding!  Right, you’ve filled your bottles, leaving some room at the top, and capped them.  Now place them in a box and put them in a warm dark place for about a week.  In your hot water cylinder cupboard is good place, but anywhere with a stable temperature will suffice e.g. an empty bedroom cupboard, under the house.

Credit: Image courtesy of jlk22122

Now We Wait!

     After a week minimum, I like to leave them for at least a fortnight, stick one in the fridge and try your creation!  If you can resist the temptation the longer you leave your bottles the better they will become.  You don’t have to forget about them forever though.  You will notice the difference in a one week old ginger beer to say a three month old ginger beer however.  Young bottles may be a little sweet.  As they mature they become nice and crisp, and leave that wonderful ginger tang lingering on your palate.

Credit: Image courtesy of LiteraryWolf

About That Ginger Beer Plant

     Now I have to back track a little.  Remember that plant of yours, sitting on the sink in the tea towel?  Divide it in half.  Place it back in your jar with 2 cups of cold water.  Feed it with 2 small teaspoons of ginger and 4 teaspoons of sugar once a week for two weeks.  Then you’re ready to make another batch and the plant gets divided again and so on.  You will have a never ending supply of lovely homemade ginger beer.  That is if you can find enough bottles to put it in!  You can give the other half to a friend and instruct them on how they too can make some awesome homemade ginger beer.  Or just chuck it in the bin if you want to keep the secret to yourself!

The Drinks Are On Me!

     There you have it, cold refreshment on hand anytime you need it.  Sit back and relax with a cold ginger beer.  You deserve it after all that.  Now I’m fairly sure this isn’t alcoholic ginger beer.  I’ve made it since I was a little kid and I never did anything too silly after a few bottles of it.  Of course if you are concerned you could test it with a hydrometer.  But I’m fairly sure the lack of yeast in its making renders it pretty harmless.  So after a little bit of work and a little patience you’ve tasted the final product I bet it was worth it.  Enjoy!