Suddenly my Moscow Mules (one of my favorite cocktails) got much more homemade than I ever thought I would drink them. Nope I am not distilling vodka in my garage yet as I do not have a distilled spirits permit, and I don’t intend to get one or even make vodka, but I just added Ginger Beer to my list of made from scratch items, in my journey to going back to a more back to basics, homemade lifestyle. So what is Ginger Beer you may ask?… For those of you who are familiar with, as mentioned above, Moscow Mules and/or Dark and Stormy cocktails, Ginger Beer is one of the ingredients that make those drinks so fabulous.
Not to be mistaken with Ginger Ale, Ginger Beer is a naturally sweetened and carbonated beverage (non-alcoholic even though it is called beer, though the original drink that started in England in the 1700s, contained alcohol). What we call today Ginger Beer is produced by the natural fermentation of prepared ginger, yeast, and sugar, and has gained a lot of popularity in the past few years as a refreshing and spicy drink, that can be enjoyed alone or mixed in several cocktails.
Making Ginger Beer at home is actually fairly simple and by doing so, it will allow you to save a bundle of money compared to the store-bought one. In addition, you will know exactly what was put in your drink, as well as experience the satisfaction of making it yourself!
By following these instructions, you should obtain a delicious beverage in about 3 days, when the fermentation has peaked. Please note that the more you wait, the more bitter drink you will get, which is totally your choice, and according to your own taste.
Here is the recipe that I made the very first time and I was so satisfied with the results that I decided to keep it as is.
- 1/4 cup of grated fresh ginger (I put mine in a food chopper)
- 1/4 cup of fresh pressed lemon juice
- 9 cups of water
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 1 tsp of active dry yeast (I use the Rapid Rise one and it works great)
- 1 2-liter plastic bottle (an empty and washed soda or water bottle will be just fine)
- 2 1-liter glass bottle with stopper (I got mine from Ikea)
- 1 1/2-liter glass bottle with stopper (Ikea sells them too)
- a fine strainer
Place the grated or chopped ginger, the lemon juice and 4 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil. Once the mixture has reached a boiling point, turn the heat to medium and add the sugar until it has dissolved.
Add the rest of the water (5 cups, cold), turn off the heat and wait until the mixture has reached a temperature of 75°F (24°C).
Once the temperature of 75°F has been reached, add the dry active yeast to the mixture, stir well and cover with a cloth or a towel.
After 3 hours, pour the mixture through the strainer and in a container with a spout (bottle, mixing bowl, etc…). The strainer will help separate the pieces of ginger from the mixture, to only retain the liquid.
Pour the mixture into the 2-liter plastic bottle, making sure to leave some room at the top. This is a very important step as the fermentation will create some carbonation, therefore some gas will form, that will need some space to build up (again, I insist that you make sure this step is not omitted so you don’t end up with Ginger Beer all over the room).
Place the bottle in a warm and dark place for at least 2 days (the more you wait, the drier your Ginger Beer will be). Make sure you untwist the cap of the plastic bottle a few times a day (don’t untwist it completely) to release the gas. Don’t worry if there is no gas the first day (I usually get some build-up I can hear and feel when untwisting the cap, on the second day). Be careful not to point the bottle at your face or someone else’s during this process, in case the liquid comes out. Go slow too…
Once the Ginger Beer has fermented enough (2 or 3 days), pour the brew in the glass bottles and place in the fridge. The fermentation process will be greatly slowed down and you will be able to enjoy your homemade Ginger Beer right away. It can be kept in the fridge for about 10 days. Et voila!
This recipe is really simple and doesn’t require any particular skills to make. Plan in advance if you would like to use it for mixed drinks on the weekend, or for a party. Make sure your yeast is not too old as it might lead to your Ginger Beer not fermenting.
Cheers! Oh and because I love you guys and I love to share my recipes, here is the one for the Dark and Stormy drink. You are welcome!
Dark and Stormy Cocktail Recipe
- 2 ounces of your fave dark rum
- 5 ounces of your very own homemade and delicious Ginger Beer
- 1 lime wedge
Pour the rum over the ice in a glass, pour your homemade Ginger Beer and squeeze the lime wedge in. Salud!