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2000s Recipes + Menus

Homemade Ginger Beer

Makes about2 qt
  • Active time:15 min
  • Start to finish:1 1/2 to 2 days
June 2009
Unlike supermarket ginger ales, which are made with carbonated water, corn syrup, and ginger flavoring, this spicy ginger beer is made the old-fashioned way, with lots of fresh grated ginger, sugar, yeast, and water. As the yeast ferments over a day or so, it creates a natural carbonation. Though many recipes leave the ginger sediment as is, we think straining it out produces a more refined quaff. For a different route to a similar drink, go to Homemade Ginger Ale.
  • About 1/4 lb ginger, peeled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • About 2 qt water
  • Equipment:

    a Microplane grater; a funnel; a clean 2-liter plastic bottle with cap
  • Grate enough ginger using Microplane to measure 3 1/2 Tbsp, then put in a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl to collect juice, pressing on solids and then discarding.
  • Place funnel in neck of bottle and pour in 3 Tbsp ginger juice (reserve any remaining for another use). Add sugar, lemon juice, yeast, and a pinch of salt.
  • Fill bottle with water, leaving about 1 1/2 inches of space at top. Remove funnel and screw cap on tightly. Gently shake bottle to dissolve sugar.
  • Let stand at room temperature until plastic feels hard and no longer indents when squeezed, 24 to 36 hours.
  • Chill ginger beer until very cold.
Cooks’ note: Ginger beer keeps, chilled, 1 week.