By Joshua Rosenthal
There are multiple ways in making ginger beer: fermentation with beer/champagne yeast, simple syrup with ginger, or you can make it the old fashion way. This recipe will not be using any soda carb mechanism; we're going to make it the old fashion way, ferment.
Ginger is one of the world’s oldest spices, as far back as 500 BC. The plant is native to China and India where it was used for medicinal, food, and flavoring. The Western hemisphere was using ginger to spice up their drinks. As the Victorian era was being introduced to the world, beer was the beverage choice in England, especially the herbal and spicy low alcohol beer, named ginger beer.
In 1866 James Vernor, a pharmacist, introduced ginger ale to America in Detroit, Michigan. The zingy and fizzy soda pop was used to assist with tummy aches. He was able to share his creation by installing soda fountains in drugstores.
By 1870 James began creating different ginger extracts and finally perfected his recipe, which included aging his syrup in wooden casks for four years.
If you were wondering, ginger ale and ginger beer are basically the same. As you begin to consider on how to go about your ginger beer, it’s easy and inexpensive to make at home. Actually, I believe you get a stronger ginger taste than what you are buying commercially because you are able to control the ingredients. Also, if you do choose to ferment your brew, you will be producing a slightly alcoholic ginger beer. In some cases, brewers will ferment their mixture longer and make adjustments to increase the alcohol content. For the purpose of this recipe below, I am going to ferment, but the ginger beer will closely resemble ginger ale.
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 3 days
Total Time: 3 days
Ginger Syrup Ingredients
Ginger Beer Ingredients
**This recipe will make 2 liters of ginger beer.
** Sanitize all items below, as they will be in contact with the ginger syrup after being cooled.
Step 1. Peel your ginger with the tip of a spoon or tablespoon. Turn your spoon over and use the tip in a scraping motion towards the handle of the spoon; the skin will scrape off; don’t be afraid to use pressure. Grate over a small glass bowl using a grater or micro-planer.
Step 2. Add your water, sugar, and ginger to your saucepan over medium heat. You want to heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Feel free to mix everything together as it heats up. Once the sugar is dissolved (ginger syrup) pull off the heat and let the syrup sit for 60 minutes to cool down.
Step 3. Sanitize your carboy, rubber stopper, airlock, strainer, and metal spoon as your syrup is cooling. **Sanitize anything that will come in contact with the cooled mixture
Step 4. Once the syrup as cooled, strain over the carboy, and press the ginger into the strainer with your metal spoon to release all the juices.
Step 5. Add your lemon juice, water, and yeast to the carboy.
Step 6. Shake the mixture to mix everything together.
Step 7. Place your lid on the carboy along with the rubber stopper and air lock. *** Make sure to fill your air-lock with your sanitize solution
Step 8. Place your carboy in a pantry or shelf for the next 2-3 days (or longer) out of direct sunlight. The mixture will begin to ferment and release CO2 through the airlock.
Step 9. Check after 2-3 days (or longer) and then place into refrigerator. You can pour into a different container, but make sure it can breathe, as the ginger beer will continue to release gas, but at a slower rate.
**** By placing it into the refrigerator you are “cold crashing” your ginger beer. Technically, you are bringing the yeast out of suspension due to the cold temperature. The yeast should fall onto the bottom of the carboy and separate from your ginger beer.
**** You can either siphon the ginger beer off the yeast into another container or poor it out, trying to leave the yeast behind. If you are going to pour; pour it as soon as you take it from the fridge, keep the yeast cake in tact to the bottom of the carboy.
This is a great recipe for any cocktails, mix with seltzer water, or just put on ice with a lemon wheel. It is super refreshing and the perfect drink for a hot afternoon or evening. Please feel free to add more ginger to the recipe, tone down the sugar for the syrup, or increase the yeast. You can do so much with this recipe to make it your own.
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