Last night we bottled our first ever batch of Ginger Beer. We don't buy cold drinks in our grocery shopping, we've even stopped buying wine. So along with water and our lemon cordial we decided that our other cold beverage of choice would be Ginger Beer. DH and I had parents that made it when we were children so it comes with fond memories. I remember watching the plump sultanas floating in the bottles :)
Whilst having a read around Rhonda's blog at Down to Earth I came across her Ginger Beer recipe, and realised it was pretty easy! So the following recipe is the one we made up. I used her recipe which stated to add 1 tsp of sugar and 1 tsp of ginger every day for 7 days, however when we tasted the brew last night, although it was yummy and the ginger flavour was there it was a bit sweet for my liking. In saying that DH has a bit of a sweet tooth for sugary drinks and he thinks its fantastic! I found another one that stated adding 1 dessertspoon of each one every day, so with the new plant we are making tonight I will change to this formula and see if this boosts the Ginger and cuts the sugary taste.
This is how we made our homemade Ginger Beer:
You first need to make the 'plant'. It's best to do this using a wide mouthed jar, but if you don't have one use whatever you think may work best. For the water component of the plant, it needs to either be rain water or if using tap water, pour the water into the jar and let it sit open on the bench for 24hours. This allows the chlorine to evaporate from the water. When we bottled though we just used straight tap water without letting it sit.
Into your jar have 1 1/2 cups of water, add to this 1 dessertspoon of sugar (we used raw sugar as it stated it gave better colour, but you can use white) and 1 dessertspoon of ginger powder. A pinch of active yeast (not the breadmaker yeast, it needs to be the little balls of yeast) and if you want add some sultanas. Sultanas are optional, I added them as I remember them being in ours as a child and I think they have a yeast content to their skin? Give this a stir up and then find a breathable covering for it. I used a new chux cloth held on with a rubber band.
You need to let the plant brew for 7 days. Leave the cover on overnight to avoid dust and bugs but if you can take it off during the day this is good. I left mine on for most of the time.Now this is the important part - EVERY day for 7 days add 1 tsp of the same sugar you initially used and 1 dessertspoon of ginger powder. Give it a little stir. Like I mentioned earlier I did the 1 tsp ratio and it was gingery but sweet so this one I am trying the 1 dessertspoon ratio. Depends if you like your ginger beer to be gingery :) I will update on this when I have completed my second brew. This should smell like ginger beer. Ours did. Although in Rhonda's she mentioned you may smell a slight alcohol smell, this is ok and the alcohol either disappears or is miniscule. The mix will also bubble up, this is ok, its the natural fermentation process with the yeast.
|Our plant on the 7th day|
|Dissolving the sugar|
|My ever willing assistant washing the bottles - great job hun!|
|Juice of 2 lemons|
|Strainer and cheese cloth ready to go|
|The remnants of the plant waiting to be squeezed|
|A final squeeze and a mix and we have Ginger Beer!|
|Into the bottles|
|All done! now to sit on the bench for a few days before going into the fridge|
As I have said this is my first time making Ginger Beer, so as I make more if I come across any tips or things worth noting I will come back and add them. It has been lots of fun and I recommend making it, the boys have enjoyed watching the process :) there are plenty of recipes out on the net for making it if you want to find more information or some alternatives :)