First of all, this ginger beer doesn’t have beer in it. My homemade ginger juice and soda version is non-alcoholic… unless you add liquor, of course.
Second, have I mentioned lately how much I appreciate you all? Thank you for visiting. Thank you for investing your time and energy (and money) into making my recipes. Your comments and emails brighten my days and make this crazy food blogging thing worthwhile. I’m not sure when this dark cloud over my head will clear, but I know that I have to make the most of this one wild and precious life. I’m working on it.
Let’s lighten the mood with ginger. I’ve been totally obsessed with ginger lately. On its own, ginger is fiercely spicy and fragrant. Used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine since forever, it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory that boosts circulation and cleanses the body. It can calm nausea and soothe upset stomachs (source: The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia). There’s really not much it can’t do.
Just a hint of fresh ginger lends peppery spice and complexity to savory dishes, and powdered or fresh ginger brightens up baked goods. Ginger has been a predominant flavor in my recipes lately, making its way into ice cream, banana bread, two soups, granola, couscous and pancakes. Ginger beer features the flavor most prominently, which I love. One sip warms me up from the inside.
Ginger beer has traditionally been brewed with a live culture, which creates carbonation as it ferments. These days, most ginger beers available in stores are non-alcoholic. Ginger beer is like ginger ale, but with a lot more kick. It tends to be more cloudy and less sweet than ginger ale, and the ginger flavor is unapologetically in your face. Most recipes for ginger beer and ginger ale have you cook the ginger in sugar water to mellow the flavor, but this recipe uses raw, pungent ginger. Beware: my ginger beer concentrate is for serious ginger lovers only.
To make this ginger beer, you’ll just need a blender or food processor and a good fine mesh strainer. My rusted hand-me-down strainer let too much ginger pulp through, so an upgrade is in order. You’ll also need a big spoon, lots of raw ginger, lime and club soda (because you won’t want to drink the undiluted concentrate).
Ginger beer is delicious on its own, but it also happens to make the best cocktails EVER. Mix ginger beer with a healthy splash of any basic liquor, squeeze in some lime, and you have your self a simple and refreshing highball. You could just buy ginger beer at the store, but most (like Reed’s) are too sweet for my taste.
Here’s a basic list of ginger beer cocktails (let me know if you have any to add):
- Dark ‘n Stormy: ginger beer + Gosling’s spiced rum + lime
- Moscow Mule: ginger beer + vodka + lime
- Gin-Gin Mule: ginger beer + gin + lime
- Pimm’s Cup: ginger beer + Pimm’s No. 1 (add gin for more kick) + lime
- Horsefeather: ginger beer + whiskey/bourbon
- 1¼ pounds fresh ginger, roughly peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks
- 2 cups filtered water, divided
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from 4 to 5 limes), plus more as garnish
- 1¼ to 1½ cups of agave nectar, honey or pure cane sugar (to taste, see note)
- club soda
- In a blender or food processor, liquefy the ginger and 1 cup of water for 3 minutes. Strain the juice into a large bowl or pitcher. Transfer the ginger pulp back to to the blender or food processor, add another ½ cup of water, and liquefy again. Strain again, adding the liquid to the first batch. Again transfer the pulp along with another ½ cup water, liquefy again, and add to the liquid. Press on the solids with the back of a big spoon to squeeze out as much of the juice as you can.
- Discard the mashed solids and rinse out your blender/food processor. Pour the liquid into the blender/food processor. Pour in the lime juice and 1¼ cups sweetener. Blend for 30 seconds. To taste for sweetness, pour about 2 ounces ginger concentrate into a glass along with about 8 ounces of club soda. If it's not sweet enough, blend in more sweetener until it reaches your preferred sweetness.
- Refrigerate up to 3 weeks. Shake before serving. Add a squeeze of fresh lime to your ginger beer before serving. Fresh mint and/or candied ginger make nice garnishes as well.
- Adapted from Lottie and Doof, originally from Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon.
- Yields about 36 ounces ginger beer concentrate. If you are using 2 ounces ginger beer concentrate per ginger beer, that means you can make 18 ginger beers. Feel free to double the recipe if you're throwing a party.
- I've tried this recipe with agave nectar and honey. I prefer the neutral taste of agave nectar. Pure cane sugar is traditionally used in Jamaican ginger beer recipes and may produce the best flavor of all.
- If you want a ginger ale syrup recipe, check out Joy the Baker's recipe.
- If you're not sure what to do with all that ginger beer concentrate, freeze it in ice cube trays! The cubes will last for several months in the freezer (store them in an airtight freezer bag). See photo below.
P.s. If you’re looking for a simple savory dish to put together this week, I highly recommend this Greek quinoa with avocado, arugula and cherry tomatoes. Find my version of BHG’s recipe at the Delish Dish blog.