How To Make Your Own Ginger Beer

See more Techniques

Ginger Beer

As far as I’m concerned, springtime is Dark and Stormy season. As the rain pummels the ground here in the Pacific Northwest, a little window of blue sky nestled between two dark clouds in the neighboring distance makes me wish I were watching the rain fall from across a dark ocean, my little Caribbean fishing boat safe and sound under that warm patch of sunlight.

I’d fill a tall glass with ice and a generous dose of Gosling’s Black Seal rum from Bermuda, then reach into a wooden crate and withdraw a chilly little bottle of homemade ginger beer. I’d sip the cloudy mixture of liquid sunshine and sweet, dark nectar while I mindlessly squeezed a fresh lime into the glass. Feet: Up.

The problem with living in Oregon when this mood strikes is the absence of little wooden shacks that sell cases of fresh ginger beer stacked on back porches. But with some readily-available ingredients, a recipe I’ve been revising for several years – and a few free minutes – I can easily transport myself to that little fishing boat on the sea.

You’re going to need a little bit of equipment to make ginger beer. It’s nothing too tricky (save for one tool) and most of it will last you a lifetime. So follow along, and remember: I promise you that this will be easy.

You have two options for carbonating your ginger beer: you can ferment it in the bottle, or you can carbonate on-the-fly with an iSi soda siphon. While the soda siphon is easier to use, for the sake of authenticity you might want your ginger beer fermented in the bottle.

If you’re going to go the iSi route, pick up a soda siphon and meet me at the next step. The rest of you, follow me.

The first thing on your list if you’re going to be brewing in the bottle is any number of 16-ounce “EZ” flip-top bottles. You can find these on the internet, at a craft store, or at any homebrewing supply place. Pick up a few to start.

Next, find some wine yeast. I use Red Star Premier Cuvee champagne yeast. It’s sturdy, it hasn’t failed me yet, and it’s inexpensive. I pay about a buck for a packet that will make five gallons of this stuff.

Okay, on to making the actual ginger beer.

The only tricky piece of equipment I’m going to suggest is a juice extractor. Pick up the Juiceman Juice Extractor if you’re just going to be making this stuff at home, or the Breville Juicer if you plan on making a lot of it. Sure, you can use a grater, but you’re going to need to fine-strain your grated ginger to avoid any chunks in the final product. For the occasional home user, a Microplaner and some cheesecloth will be fine. But when making this by the case at work, I always turn to my juice extractor. The money is worth it if you want to make a lot of this stuff.

Raw ginger

Peel and juice your ginger. I find that 1½ ounces of fresh ginger tends to work out to roughly an ounce of ginger juice.

This base recipe will make one 16-ounce bottle of ginger beer, so multiply the proportions by the number of bottles you will be using. If you’re going the siphon route, note that the canister will hold 32 ounces of ginger beer. So double the batch, duh.

1 ounce ginger juice
2 ounces fresh lemon juice, finely strained
2 ounces simple syrup
11 ounces warm water (cold if using the soda siphon)

Mix ingredients together. If using a soda siphon, pour ingredients into canister, screw on lid, charge with CO2, shake once, and refrigerate. You’re done.

If you’re using bottles, fill each bottle with 16 ounces of your mixture and add roughly 25 granules of champagne yeast. Seal the cap securely, shake well, and store for 48 hours – no more, no less – in a warm, dark place. After 48 hours have passed, refrigerate immediately to halt the process.

After your bottled ginger beer is well chilled, mix up a Dark and Stormy, sit back, and imagine you’re drifting along with me on that creaky little boat.

UPDATE: An easier and more consistent method for carbonating your ginger beer can be found here.

Cheers, friends. Have a beautiful weekend.

336 Replies to “How To Make Your Own Ginger Beer”

  • Andrew says:

    Stevia wouldn’t work as the yeast need sugar to consume to produce the CO2. You could make a stevia syrup with ginger and use that with some club soda to have an Italian soda.

  • Saylor Kid says:

    The first time I learned of ginger beer was in Australia when I asked for a Jameson/Ginger. Instead of ginger ale, i got ginger beer. Anyhow, just got finished making my first batch, and am sitting here enjoying my very first Dark & Stormy with home made ginger beer!! Absolutly delicious. Thanks Jeff!

  • Billy B says:

    I live in Port Angeles, Wa. and have a monster apple tree here. This fall I decided to try making some apple brandy in as simple a manner as I could.

    Fermented the mash in a stainless steel pressure cooker with an air lock on it. Strained it after it stopped working and added more water and used the pressure cooker as part of the still set up, just added a copper tubing coil to it.

    It turned out pretty good for my first try and is an easy and cheap way to make some booze.

  • Dave says:

    Jeff – wow! Great recipe. I used champagne yeast — took 1/4 tsp and used a knife and plate to cut into fourths — and it was incredible. For the record, I was so excited with my results that I tried Alton Brown’s recipe — absolutely horrible compared to this recipe.


  • Dave says:

    Flip-top Grolsch bottles are perfect for bottling this.

    I substituted 1 oz key lime juice for one of the ozs of lemon juice, and added one clove per bottle. The key lime mellowed the citrus, while the clove accentuated the ginger spice.

    Fantastic recipe. Even better than Gosslings’ own ginger beer for a D’nS.

    – Dave

  • Rebecca says:

    Hi, I was just wondering if this recipe is non-alcohlic? My 8 year old keeps on nagging me to make some ginger beer for him, but of course i don’t want to give him alcohol. I remember my mum making me ginger beer when i was a kid and i’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have been alcoholic, but i thought yeast produced alcohol…

  • Professr says:

    It’s essentially non-alcoholic. The amount of alcohol created by fermenting for 24 hours is negligible.

  • Jordan says:

    Made a couple of batches a few days ago. The batch with ginger juice turned out rather well, though my roommate demands more ginger flavor. Interestingly it also tastes very lime-y, even with the lemon juice going in. On the flip side, trying to make it with ginger syrup was a flop. Didn’t taste much like ginger and there was a distinct yeast flavor. No good at all.

    I just finished putting together another bottle with half again as much ginger juice in it. We’ll see how that one works out.

    Thanks for publishing this great recipe, Jeffrey. I can’t wait to try making cocktails with it. Aviation gin and cachaça are first on the list of liquors I want to pair with it.

  • Deborah says:

    Hi, I posted on my blog the other day about thinking of trying my hand at ginger beer. I’ve made more than 40 kinds of liqueurs, but never anything carbonated.
    A friend saw my post; told me she had been following your blog; and sent me the link to this entry.
    Love it! Thanks!

  • Brian says:

    So I made the batch on Saturday and tasted it last night with my bartending co-horts. Tasting the original recipe, there definitely needs to be a reduction in the amount of lemon used. Talking with my sous chef about the process, he had this to say:

    The use of Champagne yeast will definitely result in a more acidic and more citrus forward end result. It’s born that way.

    So, for my next go around, I’ll be cutting back the lemon juice, splitting the sugar between both honey and the simple, and, adding my own couple of touches.

    Thanks for the recipe Jeff!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *