It is extremely satisfying to put things together that yield deliciousness. Recently, we went on a bit, ok, OK, a lot of a ginger beer binge. What, you might ask, is so special about ginger beer that’s precipitating a binge? Well it’s a home brew; glorious, gingery, spicy, refreshing goodness!
To be frank, I can’t even quite remember what inspired me to make my own brew…….more than likely, that memory is a cast away in a raging sea of ginger memories lost. It’s probably hoping that it gets rescued and brought back safely to my RAM (random access memory). Well I have bad news dear lost memory, No such luck mate!
The beauty of the brew is that it takes NO effort at all. Well, there are two versions, one is easy peasy lemony squeezy (literally you need to squeeze lemons) and the other one is a little more fiddly. They’re both still relatively easy and soooooooo worth it.
If you avoid consuming yeast then the easy peasy route may not be for you plus it is ever so slightly alcoholic. It wasn’t the intention to create an alcoholic beverage but try as I might, I could not completely inhibit the fermentation process even when I put the drink in the fridge! Talk about active yeast! It wasn’t alcoholic enough to intoxicate, I hasten to add, but if you let it ferment for longer than I recommend then all bets are off and you will be strictly on your own! MEA CULPA!!!
This drink was so delicious that it was paired with breakfast meals, lunch, dinner and I am fairly confident that I caught Hubby trying to brush his teeth with it or gargle it or something!
I then switched tack and pottered around with a not-so- organic non-alcoholic version. All you need is a homemade ginger syrup and some sparkling water or, in my case, club soda. I have to say that this version held it’s own. It didn’t pack the flavour heft and punch of it predecessor but it was bright, fizzy and refreshing. It made you want to go “Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh” with your eyes closed. Perfect for this blistering heat!
Either of these drinks will make for amazing bases for cocktails if you have the patience to mix up something to add to it. So without further ado, here are the recipes.
Ginger Beer 1 (fermented)
6 – 8 plump pieces of fresh ginger root (you could add a couple more if you prefer more intensity)
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar (you could go up to 2 cups)
Juice from 2 medium sized lemons
1 teaspoon active dry yeast (or champagne yeast; if you have ANY idea where to get this in Lagos by all means go for it! )
2 liters of clean drinking water.
The “How To”
Finely chop or grate the ginger (I found that grating it really optimized the flavour intensity) and place in large bowl. Add in the sugar and the lemon juice. Then boil two liters of water and pour over the ginger. Stir to ensure the sugar dissolves and allow the mixture to sit out until it becomes tepid then add the yeast and stir. Pass the contents of the bowl through a fine mesh sieve or sieve lined with a clean cheese cloth into another bowl then careful decant the liquid into PLASTIC bottles with screw on lids.
The emphasis on the use of plastic bottles is to minimise the risk of an accident. The fermentation process causes a gas build up and it could shatter a glass bottle. When you fill your bottles leave at least an inch of space from the top of the bottle so that the gas has some room in the bottle.
I fermented mine for just 2-3 hours in warm dark place. You will know that fermentation has taken place when the bottles feel very hard and unyielding to touch. This means there is gas trapped in the bottle; carefully uncork the bottle to release the gas and chill in the fridge. IDEALLY refrigerating the drink should stop the fermentation but it didn’t quite do to trick for me so we had to consume it fairly quickly.
Please ensure that the bottle caps are screwed on securely, I cannot begin to tell you how many ginger beer geysers I had to deal with because of poorly closed bottles. It was such a messy waste too! Once the gas (Carbon-dioxide) forms in the bottle, it becomes highly pressurized.
Ginger Beer 2 (Virgin)
Ingredients for the ginger syrup
3 pieces ginger roots
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp whole peppercorns
1/2 tsp whole cloves
The “How To”
Peel and slice the ginger and then add it and all the other ingredients in a pan and boil. On e the sugar is dissolved and you have a lovely homogenous golden syrup, allow it to cool and then refrigerate the syrup for at least. 24 hours to really allow the flavours come alive. On the next day, strain the syrup into a clean jar.
To make a delish drink, add some soda water to a glass, then add some lemon juice and the desired amount of ginger syrup; stir and enjoy!
So, it looks like the FFF has a new division and it’s a Brewery! 😀
Trying adding fab flavour profiles to your brew by throwing in some cinnamon or even a bit of cayenne for an extra kick!
FFF Tip of the Day
Avoid making spectacular sticky messes when opening your fermented ginger beer by opening the bottle over a clean bowl in a sink. Remember to periodically release the gasses from the bottle.
Update dated December 3, 2017