I grew up in South Africa and this stuff is everywhere. There’s a few industrial brands around, but the only real similarity with the good stuff is the name. They’re artificially flavoured carbonated drinks. A lot of Mom & Pop businesses will make the proper stuff or you can just make it yourself. It’s a refreshing and healthy drink, great for after a meal or at the end of a long, hot day.
Proper ginger beer is great for digestion and is a good alternative to soft drinks. It is important to note that this does undergo fermentation so it does have a very low alcohol content (around 2% depending on a number of factors) for those of you who are sensitive to it.
- Sugar (I use raw brown sugar)
- Ginger root
- Yeast (there are specific strains for ginger beer but I just use dry yeast for baking)
- Lemon juice
For two 1.5 litre bottles
Peel and grate about 2 tablespoons of ginger, add or reduce for more or less kick.
Add 2 cups of sugar into 1 cup of boiling water in a saucepan and stir until dissolved.
Throw in the ginger, let the mixture simmer for a few minutes and then take it off the heat, cover and let it cool down to room temperature.
Strain out the ginger.
You now have ginger syrup. Now the fun part:
Take 2 CLEAN (dirt or soap residue can kill the yeast) 1.5 litre bottles and pour about a cup of syrup into each. Add the juice of half a lemon (about 3 tablespoons) and 2 grams of yeast.
Fill the rest of the bottles with water but leave a gap before the top because the fermentation process creates gases which will need some room to expand.
Now leave the bottles in a dry place at room temperature for about 3 days. Check on them every day or so and let out some excess gas so they don’t burst.
That’s it, delicious ginger beer. Pour over ice and enjoy.