The Original Ginger Beer

Ginger beer is a Caribbean style spicy-soft drink prepared using a ginger starter of grated ginger, water, sugar and wild yeasts from the air. Ginger root has natural yeasts on the skin which feed on the sugars, creating a low-calorie drink in the end of fermentation. This sugar-feeding process can can build up a lot of carbonation, so bottling in food-safe plastic bottles is best advised (Why? See our blog all about carbonation). With plastic, one can feel the pressure building up, and be aware to be careful opening the bottle. It’s alive – pro-biotic. Minerals and vitamins are released in the fermentation process and creates a healthy drink full of probiotics that are great for for digestion, drink mixes and general enjoyment. Letting your ginger soda ferment longer and in a sealed container means the gradual build-up of not only carbonation, but also alcohol which you may desire or avoid. 

This recipe is very diverse and one can add many different spices and quantities to find the level of spice that fits individually. Cardamom is a favourite of mine. Cloves. Anise. Chilli. All spice...etc. 

You Will Need

- grater / knife 
- jar for the starter 
- cloth and elastic band for the starter
- mortar and pestle 
- pot to boil the ginger-spice flavour
- sieve to filter the spices from your finished drink 
- funnel 
- plastic bottle to store your soda

Ingredients

To make the soda starter: (Want a visual? check out the webinar on how to get that fizz)
2 tsp grated fresh ginger or turmeric root (including skin)
2 tsp sugar (brown cane sugar, white sugar, palm sugar, it all works)
1 cup water

Basic soda recipe:
2 litres water
3 inches (8 cm) fresh ginger or turmeric root – more for a stronger flavour
4 - 6 crushed cardamom pods
5 black pepper corns
1 dried or fresh spicy chilli pepper 
1 ½ cups sugar
lemon or lime juice
1/2 cup soda starter
bottles (use plastic ones if it’s your first batch so you can feel how fizzy it gets by just squeezing the bottle)

Method

Basic Soda starter:
1. Combine and stir ingredients together well.
2. Leave in a warm spot covered with a cloth to allow free movement of air.
3. Stir in the same amount of ginger and sugar every day or two until it begins to bubble (somewhere between 2-7 days).
Tip: The starter likes to be agitated, stirred or shaken often, this helps to capture yeasts and air

Soda:

1. Bring water to a boil.

2. Grate the ginger or turmeric and add with the sugar to the water. *Add other herbs and spices of your choice*

3. Simmer, covered for 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool and strain into a bottle.

4. Add juice or lime or lemon and half a cup of your active ginger or turmeric starter to the bottle. Seal tightly and allow to ferment for 1-3 days, checking regularly.


**IMPORTANT** This type of soda does accumulate a great deal of carbonation and should be handled with care. Check your bottles often and open the lid to let the fizz out. Be careful if you use glass bottles! Fizzy liquids can cause glass to explode so wrap it with a cloth or use a plastic bottle. When the drink is fizzy the plastic bottle will feel hard.





4 thoughts on “The Original Ginger Beer

  1. How does ginger retain its natural yeast if it has to be washed? I am a bit confused …..
    p.s.: thanks for all your great info!

    • yeasts are pretty resilient and wouldn’t totally be obliterated from a washing. even natural yeasts on grapes, cabbage and other wild yeasts can withstand a washing. it would be a cooking or boiling that would kill them rather. So dont be afraid to wash your ginger or other veggies before fermenting 🙂

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