There is no better way to zap the heat of a hot summer’s day than enjoying a large cooling glass of homemade Jamaican Ginger Beer. It’s one of our favourite spicy non-alcoholic sundowners, which acts as the most restorative of tonics, being that ginger has diaphoretic properties which encourages perspiration.
Ginger Beer was bought to Jamaica by the British and it originally had a small amount of alcohol but today in its homemade format it is mostly a soft drink.The shop bought interpretations of Jamaican Ginger Beer have a high amount of sugar but the homemade versions are in contrast sharper, some have described it as creamy toffee especially when it has been allowed to stand for a couple of days for a truly fiery depth of flavour.
- 250g sugar
- 2 litres water (should be chlorine free – a large pinch of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), or the juice of a lemon will remove the chlorine if you are unsure)
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar (this stabilises the acid level but is not essential)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 or 3 inches of ginger, peeled and grated (dried ginger powder is an alternative)
- Tie the grated ginger in a small piece of muslin. Place it (or dried ginger) with the sugar, lemon juice, cream of tartar and water in a large jug.
- Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Cover with a cloth fixed in place with an elastic band, or just a lid if there is one.
- Leave for about five days (or until it tastes just a little sweeter than you would like the finished product to be) then carefully pour into plastic pop bottles or swing top bottles using a fine sieve and a funnel.
- It is ready to drink within two or three days, though a week is fizzier. Chilling in the fridge will stop any further fermentation if you are happy with the level of fizz and sweetness.