Over lunch a few days ago, a friend suggested I take a stab at making ginger beer. Not quite a Three Cubed project, perhaps, but not something I’d ever even thought about making in my home kitchen before. She sent me a recipe, and I filed it away for future crafting.
As these things tend to unfold, a few nights later I was at my favorite dining establishment and the summer cocktail list included a tempting item called a Root Cup. This drink involved said gingery beverage plus lemon, cucumber, and (bonus points) a new-to-me liquor called Root, produced by our friends to the north, Art in the Age. The friendly Woodberry Kitchen bartender showed me the lovely watercolor reproductions of herbs on the bottle and explained the contents, but the producer has actually made a short movie about it (it’s that kind of operation) which you can watch for a much more illuminating explanation than I could type here.
Based on my internet research, I wasn’t sure Root could be sourced locally for common purchase, but of course it was available at the Wine Source. In fact, a few people before me had clearly also been bitten by the bug and there was only a single bottle left on the shelf.
If you can juice (thank you, $5 yard sale juicer) and measure, you can make ginger beer. The ingredients in the recipe I followed are lemon juice, ginger juice, and simple syrup, plus water and a pinch (and I do mean a pinch–more on that below) of champagne yeast. Pour it into flip-top bottles, shake well, and leave it to brew in a dark, warm place for 48 hours. Then refrigerate and get ready to get your cocktail on.
By 6 p.m. this evening, we were ready to experiment. Drink production started explosively enough, since I apparently had not taken the “25 grains of yeast” proviso literally enough. Fair warning all: This recipe tastes great but the dude is serious about the teeny tiny itsy bitsy amount of yeast needed to make the bubbles. I lost a good portion of the brew when I popped the swingtop and the carbonated beverage spewed forth, over the top of the bottle and across the counter with frightening speed (not pictured due to frantic mopping). If you want to work this into a volcano demonstration for your kids, by all means. Otherwise, be stingy with the yeast, keep cameras and pets clear, and maybe open the bottle over the sink just to be safe.
Once that little bit of drama was cleaned up, the drink itself was a welcome reward. To my taste, it’s a perfect match to a setting sun and a summer swing. A little sweet, a little bubbly, the alcohol not offering too harsh a bite. This is going to become a habit, I can tell already.