It’s a hot summer day and you long for a refreshment... what’s there better than a glass of fizzy cold ginger beer or fresh ginger ale! No matter if pure, with ice cubes and a slice of fresh lemon or mixed with vodka and cucumber, I have been a huge fan of this slightly spicy drink for a while already and when I’ve recently found out that it’s actually quite easy and a lot of fun to brew your own ginger beer (or non-alcoholic ale) it was clear that we want to share this with our friends and readers of heads up!.
Our first workshop „Make your own ginger beer“ last week was sold out quickly and we were very happy to welcome a lovely group of very curious participants at Fillimur space in Berlin Kreuzberg.
For everybody who couldn’t participate, here is the tutorial on how to make the magic happen in your own kitchen, brought to you by Alexis of Edible Alchemy:
Tutorial Ginger Beer or Soda
Ginger beer is a Caribbean style soft drink prepared using a ginger starter of grated ginger, water, sugar and wild yeast from the air.
Slightly sour, slightly sweet and naturally carbonated beverages made with fermentation are special not just for their flavour, but also because they are good for our health. These drinks are hydrating, detoxifying and full of beneficial bacteria to improve digestion. They also contain wild yeasts that turn sugars into bubbles.
Fermented beverages are made in a variety of ways and some require starters from previous batches like kombucha or water kefir. If you don't have a starter culture you can make your own fizzy drink by capturing the yeasts in the air. Try it out with ginger root and the yeast on the skin of the ginger.
How to make the soda starter:
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger, including skin (very important!)
2 tbsp sugar (brown can sugar, white sugar, palm sugar, it all works)
1 cup water
Combine and stir ingredients together well in a glass jar. Leave in a warm spot covered with a cloth to allow free movement of air. Stir in the same amount of ginger and sugar every day or two until it begins to bubble (somewhere between 2-7 days). The starter likes to be agitated, stirred or shaken often, this helps to capture yeasts and air.
Basic ginger soda recipe:
Fresh organic ginger root (about 8cm)
2 litres of water
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup soda starter
Bring water to a boil. Grate the ginger and add with the sugar to the water. Add other herbs if you like (pepper, cloves, etc.) Simmer covered for 10-15 minutes. Let cool and strain into a bottle. Add half a cup of your active ginger starter to the bottle. Seal tightly and allow to ferment for 1-3 days, checking regularly.
Use a plastic bottle if it’s your first batch so you can feel how fizzy it gets by just squeezing the bottle. If you check the carbonation regularly you can also use a glass flip-top bottle.
Attention! This type of soda accumulates a great deal of carbonation and should be handled with care. Check your bottles often and regularly open the lid to let the fizz out. Be careful if you use glass bottles! Fizzy liquids can cause glass to explode so wrap it with a cloth or use a plastic bottle.
Our special heads up! tip: Instead of ginger you can also use turmeric. And instead of adding sugar to the boiling water you can experiment with syrups of different tastes – until you find your personal favourite flavour...
About Alexis and Edible Alchemy
Have you ever made your own brew? Or kimchi, sauerkraut and miso? Alexis from Edible Alchemy CoLaboratory knows how to turn food in to gold: the secret is called fermentation! In the time of disinfectants, antibiotics and canned food, we forgot about these perfectly probiotic cultures, the valuable vitamins and nutrients they hold and of course their amazing taste!
Thank-you to everybody who participated in the workshop on June 20th – and an extra big thank-you to Alexis of Edible Alchemy who shared her fascinating knowledge about fermentation and the crew of Fillimur who hosted us in their beautiful space.