Usually, ginger beers are naturally brewed, like a root beer. This puts a small amount of alcohol in the product, but is mostly used to create carbonation.

Some ginger beers have cayenne in them to increase the heat of the beverage. Also, things like lemon, honey, or other natural flavors may be included depending on the recipe used.

Ginger beer is a (virtually) non-alcoholic carbonated beverage which can very easily be made at home, and enjoyed by all the family. It is very easy to make and children particularly enjoy making it as well as consuming the final product. It can be used as a fun introduction to science as well as cookery.

The yeast involved in the production of ginger beer is baker's yeast as opposed to brewer's yeast - this gives you the fizz without the 'kick' because negligible amounts of alcohol are produced.


Firstly you need to start a ginger beer 'plant'.

Blend the yeast with the sugar until it goes creamy. Add the ginger and water, stir, and leave in a warm place. Warning: do not tighten the lid, it must be left loose, or you will end up with a broken jar and a horrible mess!

Each day for 10 days: Add 1 teaspoon of ground ginger and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Shake well, then loosen the lid again!

After day 10: Dissolve 18 oz caster sugar in 1.5 pints water and bring to the boil. Allow to cool slightly before adding the juice of 2 lemons.

Add to this the strained contents of the ginger beer 'plant' jar (strain through a couple of layers of muslin or even kitchen paper) and a further 6 pints of water.

Stir well and decant into suitable bottles* and tighten the lids.

Store in a cool place until required. Open with care, perhaps over a sink - sometimes the beer goes off like champagne!

The ginger beer 'plant' can be recycled to continue ginger beer production. Put half the filtered sediment back in the jar with half a pint of water, 2 teaspoons ground ginger and 2 teaspoons caster sugar. Proceed as above.

*The bottles must have been previously used for carbonated drinks so that you know they will be strong enough to withstand the pressure that builds up during storage. Beer or cider bottles are fine, as are polycarbonate soda bottles.

Good HouseKeeping Cookery Book

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