Best Ginger Beer

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Introduction: Best Ginger Beer

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There's nothing more refreshing than an ice cold ginger beer. That spicy and tart bite that ginger has is perfect for quenching thirst on a hot day.

However, no matter how many different types of ginger beer I try, I find all store-bought ginger beer to be more sweet than tart, and none of them are spicy enough for my tastes - even the ones that are labelled "extra spicy". There's a serious gap in the market for spice-heads like me for ginger beer that has great bite, but also tart and refreshing.

Taking matters into my own hands, I made what my taste buds consider the best ginger beer around. And, it was easy enough to make in large batches so I never have to run out!

Step 1: Recipes

There are recipes that involve fermenting in the bottle to achieve carbonation, but I wanted more control over the potency of my ginger beer, both in terms of flavor intensity and carbonation. For these reasons, the easiest way to make ginger beer is to first make a syrup and then simply add soda water to make the drink to your liking.

The ingredients are very simple for ginger beer, and you can modify them to suit your tastes.

Essential ingredients:

  • Lots of ginger root
  • Lemons
  • Sugar (about 2 cups)
  • Water

For a tastier beverage, add:

The kitchen equipment you'll need is also fairly basic:

An alternative to adding canned soda water is to use a home soda water maker, which allows you to mix all the ingredients together in the bottle and then carbonate it. If you're serious about homemade drinks a sodastream is a must!

Step 2: Shred Ginger

To maximize the ginger taste we'll need to shred the ginger root, this will increase the surface area of the ginger and impart the most potent taste.

I used a cheese grater, as they are easy to use and everyone has one. Feel free to use a food processor or just a kitchen knife to prepare your ginger. The smaller the bits, the more surface area your ginger will have.

I very rough estimate is 1 root for every liter of syrup you'll make. You really can't go wrong with more ginger, so don't worry about overdoing it. Also, the ginger isn't what makes it spicy, so it'll never be too "hot" if you add more ginger.

Step 3: Combine Ingredients

Transfer the grated ginger into a saucepan and squeeze in the juice of a large lemon. It won't matter if the seeds fall into the pot, since it'll all be strained through a cheesecloth later.

Add in 2 cups of water to the saucepan. We're looking for enough water to cover the ginger completely, too much water will make the syrup more diluted.

Add 1½ cups of white sugar to the saucepan. This will make a modified simple syrup, if you prefer a sweeter drink feel free to add more sugar, or substitute brown sugar for white sugar.

Add in 1 teaspoon of cream of Tartar. Adding cream of tartar to simple syrup inhibits the natural tendency for granular sugar to recrystallize, there's also a side benefit that the cream of Tartar gives a smooth mouth-feel finish to the drink. While not required, it's an ingredient that once you use you'll understand why.

Adding peppers is an optional step, but it's what takes regular ginger beer into the most intense flavor you've ever had. If you're not satisfied with store-bought ginger beer and think the flavor is lacking, this is the cure.

Cinch the spice bags closed and place both bags into the saucepan with the rest of the ingredients.

Give the mixture a good stir to ensure ingredients are mixed well, then turn on the heat.

Step 4: Boil + Rest

Heat the mixture to a boil and then turn off the heat.

Stir by hand to ensure even distribution and allow to sit undisturbed for an hour to cool and steep.

Step 5: Strain

After an hour the mixture should be cool and the ingredients thoroughly steeped.

Gather a large mixing bowl, a strainer, and cheesecloth to strain the cooled mixture.

Place the strainer into your large bowl and then place a double layer of cheesecloth into the strainer. Pour the cooled ginger mixture into the cheesecloth strainer and completely empty the saucepan.

Allow the ginger mixture to drain for a few minutes, then gather the edges of the cheesecloth and pull together, tightening around the grated ginger.

Gently squeeze the cheesecloth to remove as much liquid from the grated ginger as possible, then discard the cheesecloth and grated ginger bundle.

Step 6: Bottle Syrup

Clean the glass bottles with warm soapy water and rinse thoroughly.

Using a funnel, fill each glass bottle. Make sure to stir the syrup between pours to ensure an even mix, as the syrup may settle.

I like using glass bottles to store my syrup as it looks very smart, and there's no carbonation which would be unsuitable for sealed glassware. These resealable glass bottles are great for keeping the syrup fresh and tightly sealed.

Once all bottles are filled, store in the refrigerator. Syrup will keep for about 3 months.

Step 7: Mix Yourself a Drink

Add syrup to your favorite glassware, then top off with soda water.

Start with about an ounce of ginger syrup and increase dosage to suit your liking after diluting with soda water.

This tart, spicy, gingery syrup is a great refresher. By having it in syrup form you can easily modify the intensity to suit your tastes.

This recipe can be easily modified to suit your tastes. Try brown sugar for a darker and more sweet syrup. Or, try a few other twists to make this syrup your own signature drink.

I'd love to know what you come up with, so share your results in the comments below.

Happy making!

15 People Made This Project!

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50 Comments

0
mikeasaurus
mikeasaurus

Reply 2 months ago

Not alcoholic, but it's extra tasty!

0
smirnoff46
smirnoff46

4 years ago

To all those commenting about the name of the post: Ginger "ale" and Ginger "beer" are the same thing for the most part in the U.S., although in my experience usually the spicier ones tend to be called Ginger beer...perhaps why the author chose that name (Btw those are my favorite). If you think of it, ale and beer can both be considered alcoholic beverages when taken out of context, but nobody would ever think you meant an alcoholic beverage when you say root beer. So I don't think the title is misleading at all. Perhaps it depends what part of the English speaking world you're in that determines how you think of beer and ale. English is a crazy language and meanings change over time. I will try this recipe this weekend Mike. Have that pro membership ready lol ;)

0
el-hult
el-hult

Reply 4 months ago

good point about the name and ale vs beer. i think your comments shed some light on the terminology.

it seems to be some sort of weak consensus internationally though, that ginger "ale" is a soft drink (like this recipie) and that ginger "beer" is a fermented drink (not like this recipie), so from the broader context of the internet, the title may be percieved as misleading. check e.g. wikipedia for this weak consensus.

0
QazW2
QazW2

Reply 4 years ago

might also be an alcoholic with wishful thinking :/ ... I never think that root beer or ginger beer could be alcoholic. Nor cider. All are marked as HARD if alcohol is present. .... .... Vernors is my favorite and despite being brewed and then aged for 5, 8, and 10 years the blended syrup has zero alcohol.

0
stierney2
stierney2

Reply 4 years ago

I have a recipe for an alcoholic ginger ale (ale as in ale = beer) that tastes a whole lot like Vernor's. It's for a 5 gallon batch, it's not my own but I may write it up as an Instructables... it is about a 6.25% abv ale and carbonated...

0
Siddyy
Siddyy

Question 1 year ago

Can we use yeast instead of cream of tartar?

0
el-hult
el-hult

Answer 4 months ago

No. They do very different things. Cream of tartar is a salt of an organic acid - so it mostly corrects the acidity and adds flavor. Yeast, on the other hand, is a microbe that eats sugar and produces carbonation and alcohol. They are not exchangeable.

0
moonbard
moonbard

3 years ago

Excellent recipe! I had tried making it the old(er) way of a ginger bug but it never really took off. This is pretty fool-proof and along with a drink carbonator, makes very refreshing ginger soda. For my second try of this, I'll be adding more ginger and a few peppercorns - it wasn't quite as strong as I like it. (I really prefer Bundaberg - now that's strong enough!) Brown sugar gave it a very smooth finish so I'm glad you mentioned it. (I made this but don't feel like taking pictures.)

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DamianB3
DamianB3

4 years ago

Made this on the weekend with a couple of substitutions:

Juice of 2 Limes instead of Lemon - Fresher taste

A big handful of fresh mint leaves - cut back the sugar sweetness

I've been drinking it mixed with cold green tea and it's great.

I think next time I make it I'll reduce the sugar content, up the ginger & add some cinnamon.

0
mikeasaurus
mikeasaurus

Reply 4 years ago

Ooh, mint is a good idea!

0
MichaelS382
MichaelS382

4 years ago

I made it too Mike. I decided to mix 1 liter syrup with 8 liters water and force carb in a keg. I called it "Farmhouse Ale" for my guests coming for the 4th of July party. I will be testing once carbonated and make any adjustments with 2 liters of syrup in reserve. Thanks for sharing.

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0
mikeasaurus
mikeasaurus

Reply 4 years ago

This is the ULTIMATE way to make a large batch, good idea! I'd have some of the syrup ready just in case someone like me shows up to your party and wants it a little more potent :)

Thanks for sharing, I hope your 4th party is a blast! Enjoy the Pro Membership!

0
Marcos Thunder
Marcos Thunder

4 years ago

Hey Mike, thanks for sharing this recipe, I've never prepared any kind of beer, but it is something that I'm terribly curious about. Even though this is not an alcoholic beer, I say I'm loving this recipe. Gonna have to try it!

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DouglasE16
DouglasE16

4 years ago

Is not an alcoholic, how sad!

0
 Oncer
Oncer

4 years ago

Well as far as I am aware, in the UK at least, ginger beer has always been non-alcoholic and suitable for kids - lashings of ginger beer anybody? Ginger ale is a slightly more grown up version (still non-alcohol) and is sold as a mixer for alcoholic drinks.

Ginger beer is called ginger beer because it is (or can be) a yeast process involving fermentation. This will produce a small amount of alcohol but not enough to be a problem unless you must avoid alcohol for cultural or religious reasons, such as the mormon guy and his dry ice to avoid the fermentation.

When I was a kid we once made ginger beer at home via fermentation and very good it was too. However we did not take into account the secondary fermentation in the bottle, which all exploded bar one or two, including one that blew up in my sister's handbag (purse)! Be warned.

0
Robotrix
Robotrix

4 years ago

Thanks for posting this - I have been trying for weeks to get a ginger beer going from a ginger bug and I get nothing. This is fail-proof and just in time for my camping trip this weekend!

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Robotrix
Robotrix

Reply 4 years ago

I'm making this right now and realizing that there aren't really enough measurements given to scale this. The only indications are: 1/2 a root per litre finished syrup; 1.5 cups sugar; and 2 cups water in the sauce pan. How do you scale this recipe? My intuition would be to keep the 2c water and sugar the same and add more spice, diluting with water later to make more finished syrup. What's your experience with larger batches?

0
mikeasaurus
mikeasaurus

Reply 4 years ago

This can easily scale up, but I've left some measurements vague since people like different levels of spice (I prefer things very spicy, so didn't want to blast out the taste buds of someone sensitive).

Your intuition for scaling will work, doubling ingredients and adding water to dilute until your desired taste is achieved.