The kids have been wanting to have a go at making homemade ginger beer all year. Generally, they only remember at 6.30 on Sunday night, or just before school, or some other inconvenient time. Or else they remembered at a good time, but I didn’t have the ingredients. Finally, during the last holidays, we had a go at making it, and it turned out rather well.
Growing up we made homemade ginger beer occasionally. We always kept it under the house while it was fermenting because it was cool and dark, and also if the bottle exploded, the ginger beer went all over the underside of the house, rather than the kitchen! One of our friends had a hole punched in the ceiling of their laundry by the lid of a soft drink bottle after they forgot to “burp” their ginger beer for a few days. It really is important to open the lid at least once a day, to let the build up of gas escape.
The secret to homemade ginger beer is to remember that the longer you leave it to ferment, the less sweet it becomes. So if you’re expecting a sweet soft drink style of ginger beer, drink it after two or three days. If, on the other hand, you like your drinks less sweet, let it ferment a little longer. At the end, you will have a lovely, natural, soft drink with none of the nasties often associated with fizzy drinks.
Homemade ginger beer recipe
Makes 2 litres
Takes 20 mins plus resting time
- ¼ cup peeled and grated ginger root
- 1 lemon – juiced
- 1 litre water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1.25 litre water extra
- 1 tsp dried yeast
Place the ginger, lemon juice, and 1 litre of water into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn the heat to medium and add the sugar.
Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the extra water to the mixture. Allow to cool until the mixture feels like a cool bath.
Sprinkle the yeast into the mixture. Cover the mixture and allow it to stand for about 3 hours in a cool place.
Pour the mixture through a sieve to remove the ginger pulp. Pour into sterilised plastic bottles until ¾ full. Do NOT fill them to the top as the bottle needs room for the gas as it ferments.
Allow to sit in a cool, dark place for several days. Gently open the lids at least twice a day to release the build up of gas.
After 2 days, serve.
Don’t ferment the ginger beer in glass bottles, as a build up of gas can cause them to explode and shatter everywhere. I decanted mine into glass bottles to serve.