Make your own ginger beer

Alotmenteer Jojo Tulloh shares a recipe for ginger beer. 


Ginger beer

Fermentation is the way to create life even in the grip of winter's maw. In Food in England, the food historian Dorothy Hartley describes how as a child she loved to watch the ginger beer 'bee' (so called because it makes a faint humming sound) bubble up and down in a jar on the kitchen windowsill. In cold weather fermentation may take several days to a week to occur.

1 large thumb fresh root ginger
400g sugar
250ml water
2 lemons

Grate around 2tsp of the fresh root ginger into a bowl and mix with 2tsp of the sugar and all of the water. Stir well and pour into a large preserving or jam jar.

Cover the top of the jar with cheesecloth or kitchen roll and secure with an elastic band, but don't seal the jar.

Once the surface looks gassy and bubbly, bring 2 litres of water to the boil and add the rest (2tbsp) of the freshly grated ginger and the rest of the sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and then allow to cool.

When the sugar water has cooled, strain into another bowl and add the juice of 2 lemons (sieved) and the mixture from the ginger beer 'bee' jar (sieved). Reserve a tablespoon of 'bee' mixture for the next batch if you wish to make more.

Place the bottles in a warm place for a couple of days and then in the fridge. Keep checking to make sure not too much gas is collecting in the bottles and let a little out. Use plastic bottles as these will swell and won't shatter if the gas builds up too much.

The ginger beer will be ready in about a week but check after four days.



Words Jojo Tulloh

Illustration Sarah Young

Taken from a longer feature in the December issue of Gardens Illustrated (241)



The Gardens Illustrated Festival: 5 minutes with Arne Maynard
previous feature Article
How to force bulbs for bright container displays during the winter months
next feature Article
We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here