Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ginger Beer - Cook It! 2012: May Resolution + Gingery Beer Cocktail Recipe

My forays into fermenting have been minimal, with only Moroccan Preserved Lemons and an Indian-Spiced Kumquat Chutney under my belt. So May's Cook It challenge was, as usual, an exciting one: ferment something.

Fresh, bubbly ginger beer
Of course when given such a broad task, my mind shot in a million directions and I wanted to make about a dozen things at least. After narrowing my focus, I decided on ginger beer. Seasonal, rejuvenating, and it lends itself well to hot days and summer nights.

Well Preserved's recipe is the one I went with, which was straightforward and clear. Both phases of this technique were a cinch to follow, and my end result turned out deliciously, though I have to say I wanted more ginger. Maybe even double the ginger flavor. Note to self for next batch.

Making the ginger "bug", or ferment starter was fun...I liked the process of feeding it every day and putting my ear down close to listen for the frothing sounds of fermentation. Once it was in bottles I also liked inspecting for bubbles and any other evidence of something happening inside the glass. And man, when I opened the first bottle and it fizzed like crazy (no explosions, thank you), I must say it was extremely satisfying. I guess I am a bubble lover. (Which probably means I am a fermenting freak, even if I don't know it yet.)

Follow along with the blow-by-blow version in pictures below. The recipe at the end is like a pot of gold.

Slice the ginger into coins, skin and all

Then finely dice for the ginger "bug" or starter

Put ginger in a quart-size jar and add sugar and water

Cover jar with cheesecloth and a band to allow in air but not flies

Day 1

Day 2, after feeding

Day 3, cloudier

Day 4, fizzing away

Hello bubble friends!

This ginger measures up

Chopped and ready

Bringing ginger, sugar and water to a boil

After mixture has cooled, strain to remove solids
Add the juice of two lemons and the ginger bug to the strained syrup

After straining again and adding water, into bottles it goes

Then it becomes a waiting game...

I opened the first bottle after two weeks...

Look at the effervescence

So pleasing to the eye and palate

Two bottles made it to 3 weeks of fermentation. After chilling in the refrigerator, out they came for cocktail duty. I chose my day well too, it was some 80 degrees out...sipping weather at its finest. Now you can mix up a batch of my favorite beer cocktail recipe below, and put your feet up. Yup, it's summertime, and the living is easy.

The fixings
Gingery Beer Cocktail Recipe

Inspired by the Buli-Buli drink at one of my all-time favorite brunch spots, Primo Patio Cafe, this beer cocktail is refreshing and oh-so-simple to make. It's perfect for summer barbeques or parties since you can whip it up by the pitcherful. It will be so popular you will need to!

2 bottles (or cans) of beer  I prefer Red Stripe, but any lager or lighter style beer such as Pacifico will do
2 cups of ginger beer
Juice of 4 limes + 1 lime, quartered for garnish
4 Tb ginger syrup
4 Tb sugar
A lot of ice

Fill a large pitcher with ice, pour in the beer, ginger beer and lime juice. Stir in the ginger syrup and sugar, making sure it is fully dissolved and mixed in. I prefer it a little less sweet, so just taste along the way and adjust sweetener to your liking.

You could also substitute ginger ale for the ginger beer, but remember to reduce the sweetener if you do.

Pour into cups and enjoy!

Making ginger beer in pictures on Punk Domestics


  1. I am totally psyched to try this, honestly! I only "discovered" ginger beer about 2 years ago and am hooked. Happy to see I can make it at home!

  2. Hooray! It is astonishingly easy and rewarding. Your lactofermented cukes looked amazing and I'm equally excited to give those a try too!

  3. Aimee, this looks fabulous! I love ginger beer( especially with a bit of rum and lime) I am going to give this a try.


    1. Karen, I like your thinking! Rum would be perfect with this for sure. Enjoy and let me know how it turns out.

  4. Sounds awesome! Thank you for sharing with photos --

  5. Thanks for visiting cafediaries and city!

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. You mention feeding the bug but I couldn't tell what/how much you fed it? Just some sugar water each day?

    1. Oh no, it looks like the Well Preserved recipe link changed... I've updated now, but you continue to feed the bug with 2 teaspoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of chopped ginger every day:

  8. I just tested my first batch of ginger beer, and its not fizzy. I done everything right as far as I can tell, the ginger bug was very active before I used it. But after almost two weeks there is not even a hint of fizz, although there is a good strong ginger taste. Anyone had any experience of their beer not fermenting?

    1. Sorry to hear you're not getting the bubbles! I've never had this happen, so not sure what to advise... You might post a query comment with Well Preserved: