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17 November 2009

Ginger beer

I got this recipe from a local TV show called Cool Kids Cooking. There's bottled ginger beer here called Bundaberg which I like a lot, so I thought being able to make some at home is really cool.

I made one major error, though. The recipe called for uncreamed honey. Eh? What's that? Well, we have honey in the cupboard so I used that. Eventually I noticed it was creamed honey. I thought it made little difference if I switched. How wrong I was! My ginger beer turned very sweet! I had to add half a liter of water to the final mix to dilute it. So that's what you can also do if ever you do not have uncreamed honey.

Also, the original procedure called for "a few hours" to make the yeast to its work, I allotted 6 hours, but a couple of days later you will notice that the ginger tastes so much better. So here is my version:

1 t dry yeast
1/2 c warm water
2/3 c honey
1 L hot water if uncreamed honey, 1.5L hot water if creamed honey is used
2 T peeled and grated ginger
Juice of 2 lemons (there's around 2-3 T juice per lemon)

1. Dissolve yeast in 1.2 c warm water
2. Mix honey, ginger, lemon juice, and hot water in a pot and bring to a boil. Stir until well dissolved, then pour into jar.
3. Add yeast mixture into jar and stir well.
4. Cover jar with lid, wrap with towel and keep warm (preferably under the sun) for about six hours.
5. Strain the ginger off and pour into a jug (I used a soda bottle). Refrigerate.
6. The ginger beer tastes better after a couple of days in the ref. I guess this is the yeast at work. However, my son loved the ginger beer on the very day it was made! And it was pretty strong stuff too, the fresh ginger making it spicy. But I repeat, it mellows down after a couple of days.

While making this post, I decided to Google for more ginger beer recipes. Here is a more simplified version as taken from the New Zealand Food Guide Book:

Lemon-based Ginger beer
Recipe is for 1.5 L plastic bottle
2 tblspns warm water
1/2 tspn sugar
1/4 tspn dried yeast granules
1 cup sugar
juice of 2 lemons
rind of 2 lemons
1 tspn to 1 tblspn dried ginger

Put first measure of sugar in warm water to dissolve, add yeast and stir. Place in warm place to start working.

Finely grate or slice rind from 2 lemons and place in a heatproof container with the 1 cup of sugar and the dried ginger. Pour over 1 cup of boiling water and leave to steep for 10 minutes. Strain into 1.5 L plastic bottle in which the ginger beer will be made. Top up bottle with cool water to near top so that final temp is approx. body temp. Add yeast to bottle as soon as it shows signs of working, ie. it foams. Cap bottle tightly. Mix thoroughly and put in a warm place. Leave until bottle becomes undentable. Depending on the yeast this can take anything from 12 hours to 3 days, but best to check regularly, as I guess there is a risk of explosion with this! Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled and OPEN WITH GREAT CARE!

This recipe came from the ChCh Press a couple of years back and makes excellent ginger beer. You can also add more sugar afterwards if you like it sweeter. Yum.


I will try the above recipe when I'm done with this batch.

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  1. If you're feeling lazy and just want a good small scale Ginger Beer, give Fentimans a try. Cheers, Greg.

  2. Thanks Greg! Will keep that in mind. Although Fentimans is available only in the UK, methinks? I'll be on the lookout here in NZ.