Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Ginger beer


I really enjoy ginger beer, but the stuff that is sold commercially under that name is hardly worth drinking. However, I have a recipe (you might have guessed) that you might like to try.

It comes out of a a delightful little book that was put together in aid of Hospice in South Africa many years ago. It contains a collection of recipes from South African 'celebrities' (I use quotes because I'm not sure that the MPs included in the book should be given that label). I will be sharing other recipes from the book at some point, I'm sure, having recently rediscovered it hidden between two larger books on my recipe bookshelf (aka the windowsill in the conservatory).

I would like to explain why I purchased the book, if you don't mind:

During my Gran's agony-ridden final days, the Hospice people were a great comfort and help to us, visiting three times a day with the blessed syringe-borne relief for my Gran. Two of the workers even attended her funeral. They had not had the enormous privilege of knowing my Gran as a whole person in possession of a sound mind and a gentle heart, but they came anyway. And I'm glad they did, because they got a glimpse into the sort of a woman my Gran had been before the cancerous scourge had robbed her of her dignity, her graciousness and her humility.

Okay, now that I have utterly ruined my mascara, let me get back to the recipe for ginger beer, which - I should probably mention - takes about 10 days, and you will need a fair few 2l bottles, so get collecting.

According to the book, this recipe is a firm favourite of Nelson Mandela, but since this claim is made by a fictitious alter ego of a female impersonator, who allegedly made it for him, I'd take it with a pinch of salt, if I were you!

Ingredients
Stage 1
10ml yeast
80ml sugar
80ml grated ginger root (or you can use ground ginger, if you like)
500ml water

Stage 2
1,250ml sugar
2l (2,000ml) hot water
4l (4,000ml) cold water
200ml lemon juice

Method
Stage 1
  • Place the water in a jug or bowl and stir in the yeast, 10ml sugar and 10ml ginger.
  • Leave overnight.
  • Each day, for seven days, stir in another 10ml sugar and 10ml ginger.
Stage 2
  • Dissolve sugar in the hot water.
  • Add the cold water and lemon juice.
  • Strain the stage 1 mixture through a muslin and add it to the above.
  • Bottle and allow to stand for 1-2 days at room temperature. It's probably a good idea to leave a bit of space at the top of the bottles... just in case! And screw those caps on well.
  • Refrigerate and enjoy with ice and a sprig of mint or a slice of lime.

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