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Homemade Ginger Beer

Ginger, turmeric and cardamom belong to the Zingiberaceae botanical family.  Ginger is grown mainly in tropical countries with Jamaica ginger being considered the best culinary varietal type.  Not only is ginger an aromatic and culinary delight, it’s also well regarded as a medicinal spice for thousands of years in India, southeast Asia, and China.  Ginger Beer began as an alcoholic beverage with origins traced to Great Britain in the 1700s.  For those that wanted a taste of “home,” the refreshing drinks were brought to places like the Caribbean and Africa where British soldiers were deployed.  As its name suggests, ginger is the main ingredient in ginger beer.  Today, while it can be enjoyed anytime (store bought or homemade), homemade ginger beer is most popular in the Caribbean around Christmas time and it usually pairs well with a slice or two of fruit cake.  Although its name may imply the presence of alcohol, there is really no alcohol involved in Ginger Beer making.

2 lbs fresh ginger washed, peeled, diced
2 lbs sugar cane washed, peeled and sliced
8 whole cloves
2 oz. washed dry barley
Peel of an orange
½ of a lemon

Brown sugar (optional)

Soda water (optional)


  1. Place all ingredients into a large container (approximately 2 gallons). Add warm water to the level of the ingredients.
  2. Cover and place the container at room temperature storage for approximately 3 days. The flavour intensifies the longer it’s stored.
  3. After the 3 days, with a fine strainer or one with cheesecloth, strain ginger beer into another container.
  4. Increased sweetness by adding brown sugar and for milder flavour, add more water.
  5. Pour into bottles and refrigerate.
  6. Serve with or without ice, and if prefer, carbonated ginger beer by mixing with soda water.



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