Ginger beer is a light, refreshing ale that you can easily make at home. Brewed with yeast, it is a unique beverage that will become a summer tradition at your house. It's great to make with the kids, and there's something magical about waiting for it to be "done" and ready to drink. Create a memory for your children this season by making ginger beer.
Ginger beer recipes are plentiful on the web, and many of them are handed down via a favorite grandmother's handwritten notes. I've found that the easy adaptation below will fill about seven bottles. Once you get a rhythm going, you can make two or three batches without much fuss.
This Is What You Will Need to Make Ginger Beer
6 to 8 bottles with removable caps
Hand held strainer
Towel or length of muslin
4 oz. (two large pieces) of fresh ginger (Found in the produce department of most large grocery stores.)
1 whole star anise
2 Cup of sugar, plus 3 tbsp.
1 tbsp. of dry yeast (about half of a yeast packet)
1 gal. water, plus 1/2 cup
Thoroughly clean the ginger root and slice it into large pieces. Smash the pieces with a meat tenderizing mallet or the side of a knife. (A hammer will work, too.)
Slice the lemons.
Add the sliced lemons, ginger, cloves, star anise, and 2 cups of sugar to the pot of boiling water, and stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Take the pot off the heat and let cool.
Combine dry yeast with 3 tbsp. of sugar and 1/2 C. of warm water (about 105 degrees F.). Mix until the sugar dissolves.
Add the sugar mixture to the pot once the ginger liquid has cooled to under 105 degrees F. If the ginger water feels about room temperature, it's probably okay.
Cover the pot (a towel or length of muslin will make a good cover that will allow the yeast to breath), and let it sit in a warm spot overnight. The top of a dryer, over a heat register, or near a water heater would be good choices.
Check the beer periodically and remove the accumulating scum from the top. This can be done easily with a hand held strainer.
Strain the ginger beer into the bottles, using the funnel. I strain the beer from the pot into a glass carafe using the hand held strainer, and then from the carafe into the bottles via the funnel. Although not necessary, a large ladle can be useful, too.
Cap the bottles, leaving a gap of about one inch at the top, and place them in a warm spot for two to three days. That's it! When they're ready you can refrigerate them. Drink them as you would a carbonated beverage.
Special Note About Handling Homemade Ginger Beer:
There is pressure build up in the bottles, so open them carefully. They will probably foam on opening, so be sure to hold them over the sink, or open them out of doors.