Ginger Beer

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes

    8 to 10

    servings

Appears in

The Ghana Cookbook

By Fran Osseo-Asare and Barbara Baëta

Published 2015

  • About

Here is a simple recipe for a soft drink popular throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Ginger beer is often carbonated and made with yeast, but this version skips that step. For bubbles, use seltzer (carbonated) water to dilute the concentrate to taste. It is always delightful when folks outside of Ghana shake their heads and say with awe: “You made this from scratch?”

Ingredients

  • 4 to 8 ounces peeled fresh ginger, amount depending on strength desired
  • 2 cup hot/boiling water
  • ½ to ¾ cup sugar (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
  • 6 cloves
  • Small piece cinnamon stick (¼ of a short stick; optional)

Special equipment

  • Cheesecloth

Method

Directions

  1. Chop the peeled ginger into chunks, put into a blender with 1 cup of the hot water and blend for 1 to 2 minutes, pulsing until it is well pureed.
  2. Pour the ginger mixture into a nonreactive bowl (e.g., stainless steel, glass, plastic) and pour 1 cup of boiling water over it, then cover the bowl loosely, and let sit for at least 2 hours.
  3. Line a strainer or colander with a cheesecloth that has been folded at least twice, and set it over a large nonreactive metal bowl. Slowly pour the ginger mixture through the strainer. Pick up the cheesecloth by the four corners, then twist and squeeze it to remove as much of the water as possible. Discard the ginger “dregs” remaining in the cloth.
  4. Add 2 cups of cold water to the liquid in the bowl. (At this point, you can add more water to the concentrate unless it will be diluted with seltzer or other water later.)
  5. Add the sugar, stirring to dissolve. Add the lime or lemon juice, cloves, and cinnamon stick (if using) and let the mixture sit for an hour.
  6. Remove the spices and carefully pour the ginger beer into a pitcher or covered container. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.

To serve

Serve the ginger beer well chilled (over ice cubes for North Americans) and diluted to taste with water or seltzer water. Plan on ½ cup of ginger beer per serving. Some folks mix in rum, vodka, or other alcohol.

Variations

  • Increase or decrease the ginger or sugar or replace the sugar with honey.
  • Substitute fresh pineapple chunks for the cloves and cinnamon, and blend them with the original chopped ginger.
  • If an electric blender is not available, the ginger may be grated and mashed with a spoon or mashing tool, rather than blended.