I recently got reunited with my love of ginger beer due to drinking Moscow Mules at an Irish pub here in Leipzig. I used to make a lot of ginger beer back in Melbourne and also teach others to make it. It’s a tasty drink and very nutritious for all that ails you. You can add more or less sugar to taste although I wouldn’t reduce the sugar by more than half.
Making ginger beer takes a couple of weeks minimum. You need to have sterile plastic/glass bottles to decant your ginger beer into. We have had glass bottles explode during a hot Melbourne summer and it’s not pretty, shards of glass were embedded in the walls and even the ceiling. You can of course use glass bottles with swing tops as another option. The main issue is that your bottles need to be very clean and sterile. We used to buy our bottles at a beer making shop and use sterilising tablets to ensure there was no mould. This is very important, you do not want mouldy ginger beer, weeks of waiting will have gone to waste!
Follow this recipe through and you’ll be left with a delicious tasty ginger beer. It won’t be continually bubbly, it is more like a dark pressed french cider. If you want it fizzy it can be mixed with soda water or you could use champagne yeast in exchange for the dried yeast. It goes lovely with a drop of gin or vodka and a sprig of mint.
Ginger beer Plant
- 1/2 teaspoon dried yeast
- 1 rounded teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 rounded teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- Fresh ginger diced, to taste (no need to peel)
- Mix all together in a jar, cover with a piece of muslin and secure with a rubber band.
- Each day for the next week, add 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon ground ginger.
- Divide the plant left in the muslin into two halves.
- Place one of these in a glass jar with a cup of warm water.
- Then next day start feeding as before, that is, one teaspoon of ginger and one of sugar each day. The other half of the plant can be discarded, or you can have two plants ‘on the go’.
To make up the Ginger Beer:
For the syrup, mix together:
- 4 cups of sugar (or to taste)
- 24 cups of warm water
- 1/2 cup strained lemon juice
- Strain the ginger beer plant through two layers of muslin/cloth
- Pour the resulting liquid into the syrup and mix well.
- Bottle and seal. The ginger beer should be ready to drink by the end of a week. But the longer you leave it, the more potent it will be.
- Be aware that bottled ginger beer can be explosive as the yeast keeps growing within the bottles and the build up of carbon dioxide can create the explosive effect.
- Plastic bottles are preferrable as the bottles can explode
- Be aware that artificial sweeteners won’t work. Yeast is totally fine with honey or agave however. It just can;t eat the dextrose that the artificial sweetener is made out of.
- Double the ginger and add a pinch of cayenne pepper
- Cut a few strips of lemon peel and muddle with the sugar. The sharp sugar grains will draw the oils out of the lemons and you’ll have lemony sugar
- Mash 1/2 cup berries or handful of mint sprigs with the sugar then proceed as usual.