This is the last (and most explosive) installment of Katt Frank and Sean St. John’s Little Tipples Collaboration. Along the way they’ve introduced us to Sloe Gin, Blackberry Bourbon, and Brandied Cherries. Beer seems like a natural conclusion then, especially with the holiday twist of ginger! -Amy
Homemade ginger beer is fiery, spicy, viciously bubbly and incredibly moreish. It can be a bit potent too, at around 5% ABV, so watch out – I’ve woken up too many times with a bit of a headache from this one. But its simple to make, and giving a few bottles out at the New Year is one of the best gifts I can think of. Most of my friends don’t believe it’s homemade, which I take as a great compliment.
When making the Ginger Beer, just note that the yeast produces a lot of gas, which can result in gingery explosions. But if you keep an eye out and follow the instructions, you’ll save yourself a kitchen disaster. For the ginger beer, you will need 2 x plastic quart bottles (do not use glass, as the pressure can build up and shatter glass). Feel free to double the recipe; this beer disappears quickly once you’ve tried it!
Homemade Ginger Beer
- ¼ tsp. brewer’s yeast
- 7oz caster sugar
- 2/3 inch piece of fresh ginger root
- 2 lemons – juice only
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 quarts warm water
Equipment: 2 quart plastic bottles
- To start, add the brewer’s yeast to a large mixing bowl. Add the caster sugar.
- Then grate the fresh ginger root. The fresher the ginger is, the spicier the beer will be. Add the ginger along with 2 cloves and the juice of the lemons.
- Add 2 quarts of warm, but not hot, water. Cover the bowl with cling-film and leave somewhere warm overnight, or for about 6 hours.
- Next you’ll need to pour the liquid into the 2 plastic containers. Screw on the caps and leave somewhere warm for about 3 days. At this stage, you’ll need to release the gas every day to stop the bottles from exploding. You’ll know it’s time when the bottles become rock hard to touch. Sometimes they’ll need letting off more frequently – just keep an eye on them. To let off the gas, all you do is undo the cap slightly until the gas escapes, then tighten back up again.
- Do not leave over 5 days otherwise they start to loose their fizz. When ready, filter the liquid with a coffee filter or muslin, and pour into some decorative bottles for friends. A couple of bottles for each friend should keep them happy. Save some for yourself and drink over ice, or for a superb, but stiffer drink, add a slug of blackberry bourbon.
Illustration by Katt Frank.
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