I made a 5 gallon carboy full of ginger beer to bring to my friends' wedding on Vashon this Sunday!
My basic recipe:
- 1 part ginger juice,
- 1 part lemon juice,
- 1 part sugar,
- 9 parts carbonated water.
From left to right in this photo, you can see 5 lbs of ginger pulp draining, a jar of dryish ginger skin/fiber that naturally sloughed off upon my grating it (the good stuff made it though the grate), first-pass ginger juice, and the rest of the juice. [PROTIP: Freeze the ginger before you grate it, then wear a slim glove so your hand doesn't freeze while holding it. Grating frozen ginger creates a lovely pile of gingery snow dust. 5 lbs of ginger was much more than I needed to grate.] The little hexagonal jar you see in the middle of this picture is the juice that the ginger gave up on its own while sitting and dripping (notice the consistent opacity and slightly greener look!). But you won't extract anywhere near enough juice that way alone. Boil some water and steep the ginger pulp in it for a few hours, then pour that slurry over a seive and drain off more ginger juice/tea. Do that several times!
If you hate hand-grating things, or fear grating your hand, maybe use a blender / food processor? I gotta say, I didn't expect to get away from such a big grating job with such a tiny injury.
Here are the exact amounts I ended up using:
- 9 cups ginger juice
- 5 1/3 cups lemon juice
- 7 cups sugar
- 4 gallons carbonated water
As you can see, I used equal parts just as a starting point and adjusted quantities to taste to get the desired flavor balance. I borrowed my sister's Sodastream water carbonator to carbonate cold tap water. Planning to refresh the carbonation levels and flash chill it at the wedding by plopping in some chunks of dry ice (the solid state of carbon dioxide).
The flavor profile of this brew is much like locally produced Seattle fave, Rachel's Ginger Beer. Wouldn't it be lovely to have all the ginger beer you could drink? Yes, of course.