Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ginger Beer

Okay, not really beer in that it's only minutely alcoholic, but since it's fermented and cloudy, that's what I'm calling it.

For reference, the recipe and basic procedure can be found here. Personally, this is how I do it, plus a variation or two.

Here's what you'll need:

1 cup of table sugar
Freshly grated ginger root (1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons)
The juice of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon of bread yeast
2 liters of fresh, cold water

Rinse out a two liter pop bottle. With a funnel, put the sugar into the bottle and the yeast. Next add the grated ginger and lemon juice. Next add the water and put the cap on the bottle. At this point I shake the bottle enough to dissolve the sugar and then set it on the counter for at least twenty four hours. When the pressure has built up enough that I can't deform the side of the bottle when pressing hard on it, I put it into the fridge. I feel it is best to let it sit in the fridge another day at least, otherwise it has a sweet, yeasty taste I find objectionable.

Be careful in opening the bottle if you don't want to end up wearing it, as it will have a LOT of C02 pressure built up. One thing I do is pour the ginger beer through a sieve into a large bowl and then rinse out the bottle before pouring the contents back into the bottle through a funnel. This removes the chunky bits of ginger root. If you like floating bits of ginger in your drink, then don't do this.

One word on the grated ginger. Feel free to add as much or as little as you want. Personally, I like the bite of the ginger and the way it warms up the back of the throat, so I add a lot. The lemon juice is optional.

Another way to brew this is to put the shredded ginger, sugar, water and lemon juice into a pan and heat it over the stove. Think - tea... Afterward you can strain the mixture into the bottle and you're ready to go as soon it cools down. If it is too hot, you'll kill the yeast.

One variation on this I've tried with good results is to put some herbal tea bags into the pot and let them steep as well. This adds a sweet, herbal, floral essence to the brew that is not unpleasant.

Anyway, I know this has nothing to do with guns, but I thought people would like it.