Ginger Beer

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    4 litres

Appears in

How to Cook The Victorian Way with Mrs Crocombe

How to Cook The Victorian Way with Mrs Crocombe

By Annie Gray and Andrew Hann

Published 2020

  • About

Avis Crocombe, unpublished manuscript (no date)

There are a number of recipes for drinks in Avis’ manuscript, most of which are for lemonade or ginger beer. This one is noteworthy for having a mention of Audley End, for underneath it is written a rare source: ‘The Field’ newspaper, copied from Lady B. Brook. A.E. – the ‘A.E.’ standing for Audley End. First published in 1853 and still going today, The Field was devoted to field sports. Today it covers mainly shooting, hunting and fishing. This recipe is a little insipid for modern tastes, which tend towards a sweeter ginger beer, but it is a good representative of the Victorian era. By all means add a sweetener such as honey or sugar at the end, or give it a boost with a sweetish whisky.


  • 4 litres/7 pt/ quarts water
  • 2–3 tbsp sugar
  • 30 g/1 oz fresh ginger, chopped and bruised
  • zest of 1 lemon, cut off without pith
  • 1 slice of thick-cut bread
  • 4 tsp fresh (compressed) yeast, or 2 tsp dried yeast


Heat the measured water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the ginger and lemon zest. Allow to cool to room temperature and decant into a food-grade bucket or a large bowl.

Toast the bread. Mix the yeast with a little warm water to form a thick paste and spread this on the toast. Add the toast to the ginger beer mixture. Cover and leave to stand at room temperature for 12–24 hours.

Strain the mixture through a fine sieve lined with kitchen paper or, better still, muslin or a jelly bag. Decant into clip-top jars or bottles, which will allow any gas to escape if it gets a bit lively.

Leave for at least 4 days and up to a few months.