Ginger Beer


Preparation info

  • Makes

    7 Pints

    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Official Downton Abbey Cocktail Book

The Official Downton Abbey Cocktail Book

By Downton Abbey

Published 2019

  • About

Ginger beer was a staple drink at fetes and fairs in the 1910s and 1920s. A favorite for the servants and the family alike, it was cheap to make, easy to keep, and refreshing to drink. We see it at nearly every village occasion on, but also at more intimate settings, such as Harold Levinson’s picnic with Madeleine Allsopp in season 4. This recipe was originally published in The Field, Britain’s premier outdoor sports and country magazine.


  • quarts (3.3 l) water
  • tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ground ginger
  • Peel (coarsely grated or chopped) and juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 small, thick slice yeast-risen white bread, toasted


    Combine the water and sugar in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Let cool to room temperature. Add the ginger and lemon peel and juice and stir to dissolve the ginger.

    In a small bowl, stir together the yeast with just enough water to make a spreadable paste and spread the paste onto the toasted bread. Put the toast into the ginger mixture, then pour the ginger mixture into a bucket or large bowl and cover with a cloth. Leave at room temperature for 24 hours. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. Rinse out the bucket or bowl, return the strained mixture to it, and re-cover it. Leave at room temperature for 4–5 days longer.

    Strain it once again, this time more carefully, using a fine-mesh sieve lined with several sheets of paper towel. Pour into clip-top bottles, which will allow you to lessen the pressure if too much builds up. The beer is ready to drink immediately.