I know its not very exciting, but my thirst quencher of choice would have to be purified water, served flat and at room temperature. But every now and then I go a little crazy and indulge in fresh lemonade or iced tea, even an occasional root beer. On a recent visit to a Los Angeles restaurant I had a house made ginger beer that was a crisp, cool, and refreshing libation that left me with cravings for more. I set out to perfect a recipe of my own that would be simple to prepare and a little better for me that the one I had. Made with fresh raw ginger root, this formula for homemade spicy ginger beer is just what I was after.
The great thing about this recipe is that it not weighed down with tons of sugar and simmered down ginger. Therefore you are getting all of the fantastic benefits of the fresh ginger root in this particular potion. Ginger root is great for you as a metabolism booster as well as being a powerful anti-inflammatory where regular consumption of the root has been proven to help reduce and alleviate the pain and swelling associated with chronic ailments. Fresh ginger ingested in various forms, including this recipe, is also very effective for relief of nausea, intestinal gas, and for tummy aches in general. And with Valentine's Day just around the corner I cannot neglect to mention that ginger is touted as a powerful aphrodisiac and fertility booster. It is thought to invigorate the reproductive organs and possibly assist with impotency.
If you would prefer a sweeter more traditional sort of ginger beer, prepare peeled ginger pieces as you would the lemon rind in my Candied Citrus Rind recipe and use the cooking syrup to infuse with soda in place of the recipe below. Store the candied ginger in it's own syrup or toss in superfine sugar to enjoy as a treat or to suck on if you get car sick.
Makes about 6 cups of ginger beer base or enough for 30-40 servings.
|1 pound||fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces|
|3-4 cups||purified water|
|1/4-1/2 cup||freshly squeezed lime juice|
|1-1 1/2 cups||raw agave nectar or honey|
|candied ginger, optional|
|sparkling water or club soda|
Combine the prepared ginger root along with the purified water in the bowl of a high powered blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade. Blend or process for about 3-5 minutes.
Strain the ginger pulp through a fine mesh strainer or a strainer lined in wet cheesecloth. Use a spoon or ladle to press all of the liquid through leaving only the dry pulp.
Return the pulp back to the blender or food processor along with another cup of water and process for another 3-5 minutes.
Repeat the straining and discard the remaining pulp.
Add 1/4 cup of the freshly squeezed lime juice along with 1 cup of raw agave nectar to the strained ginger juice. Blend together. Do not add additional agave or lime until after you have sampled the mixture with soda.
In a 10-12 ounce highball style glass, measure 1-2 ounces of the ginger base. Add about 7-8 ounces of sparkling water or club soda, stir, and taste to make any adjustments.
If you prefer a sweeter base, add more agave. You can even add sugar or blend in some candied ginger for a considerably sweeter gingery drink.
If you want it to be more citrusy, add more lime juice. Be careful not to add too much lime as it might interfere with the gingery nature of the beverage. Add only a little at a time until it it just to your liking. Another option for additional lime essence without overwhelming the base with juice would be to serve the brew with a twist of lime run around the rim of the glass before serving.
Store the ginger base in the refrigerator for up to 10 days or freeze in ice cube trays for individual servings ready to go.
When serving, mix drinks individually or make a pitcher for a larger crowd.
Ginger beer is excellent used as a cocktail mixer. Try it with vodka to make a Moscow Mule or Gosling's Black Seal Rum to make a Dark and Stormy. Ginger beer is also great to use in place of 7 Up for a spicy Shirley Temple.