Old-fashioned ginger beer

Old-fashioned ginger beer
  • Serves icon Makes 3 litres
  • Time icon Takes 20 min to make, plus overnight standing, fermenting and chilling

Lashings and lashings of home-made ginger beer is a must for any self-respecting picnicker.


  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, thickly sliced
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • ¾ tsp dried fast-action yeast


  1. Put the ginger, lemon, sugar, cream of tartar and 750ml cold water into a large pan over a medium heat. Slowly bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add 1.5 litres cold water and sprinkle over the yeast. Cover with a lid and set aside in a cool place overnight.
  2. The next day, sterilise the bottles by cleaning them in hot soapy water. Rinse and set aside.
  3. Strain the ginger beer through a nylon sieve and divide between the bottles – leave a 5cm gap at the top to allow for the build-up of gases. Screw on the lids tightly and leave in a cool place. Check every few hours, unscrewing the cap a little as the pressure builds up, to allow the gases to escape.
  4. The ginger beer is ready to drink when fizzy, which will be within 12-36 hours, depending on how hot the weather is. Chill, then serve with plenty of ice and drink within 3 days (don’t drink if it smells old and yeasty).

delicious. tips

  1. You’ll need 2 x 1.5-litre plastic bottles. Never use glass bottles as the pressure builds up and they will explode!


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