If you enjoy strong, spicy, full-flavored ginger ale or beer, then this recipe is for you! Making your own ginger beer is actually pretty easy and doesn’t really require any special equipment other than an old 2-liter bottle or growler. If you don’t know where to get dry ale yeast, try searching for a local homebrew store (such as Austin Homebrew Supply).
- 3/4 lb fresh ginger root (use less for a less pungent end product)
- 2 quarts water
- 1 cup turbinado sugar (white can also be used)
- 1 lemon
- 1/8 teaspoon dry ale yeast (such as Danstar Nottingham) *
- Give the ginger root a good wash and cut off any funky-looking skin (you can leave it mostly unpeeled). Then cut the ginger root into rounds, about 1/8-inch thick. Place the pieces into a large heat-resistant glass (such as Pyrex) bowl, and crush slightly using the back of a wooden spoon or a cocktail muddler. This helps express some of the juice and aids in flavor extraction.
- Heat the water to boiling, then pour it over the ginger in the bowl. Add the sugar, stirring to dissolve.
- Use a citrus zester or Microplane to zest the entire lemon, being careful to avoid the white pith. Juice the now-naked lemon and add 2 tablespoons of the juice to the mixture, stirring to incorporate.
- Let the mixture cool to room temperature (this usually takes around 1 hour), then sprinkle the yeast over the surface.
- Cover the bowl with a clean cloth or paper towel and let sit out for 24 hours. After a few hours you should see some yeasty activity (slight bubbling) in your bowl.
- After 24 hours are up, carefully strain the ginger beer into a clean 2-liter bottle or 1/2-gallon growler. Screw on the lid tightly and let sit out for 12 – 24 hours longer. During this time, the yeast will continue to reproduce, carbonating the ginger beer.
CAUTION: DO NOT LET SIT OUT FOR LONGER THAN 24 HOURS.
- After this period of 24 hours, move the sealed bottle to your refrigerator, let chill, then enjoy straight or in a cocktail of your choice (I suggest a Dark and Stormy). When you open the bottle for the first time, do it over a sink because there is a good chance it might bubble over.
The ginger beer will keep in refrigerator for a long time, but you might want to open the lid every day or two to let off excess carbonation.
* For bonus points, make your own “ginger bug” and use some of it instead of dry yeast!