How To Make Your Own Ginger Beer

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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”

  • Lauren Mote says:

    jeff – would you say that this process can be duplicated theoretically to make ciders, rootbeers, etc… is this a pretty healthy starter recipe for bottle fermenting some interesting products?

  • Lauren Mote says:

    wicked. i’m totally going to have an explosive family of fermenting PLASTIC bottles in my fridge. radical.

  • Lauren Mote says:

    http://poivremedia.wordpress.com/2010/06/22/a-ginger-beer-bonanza/

    here are my findings. 3 ways and 3 tastes. 3 cocktails, and 3 of everything. i believe this suggests OCD but i can handle that. great read, and great recipe – i’ll keep you posted on the development of the other ‘pops’ with the recipe base with slight adjustments.

  • Jim Butchart says:

    I had the best Dark & Stormy yesterday in Palo Alto at a Caribbean restaurant called Coconuts. So good in fact I went to the bar to ask what ginger beer they used. The bar man told me that the chef makes it and wouldn’t give me the details of how it is made. So I used Google to find your recipe. Thanks! Now we will make our own and save a pile by not buying anymore Reed’s, Fever Tree, or Cock & Bull and get a much better ginger bite in the process.

  • Devo_N says:

    http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/23/case-study-cloudy-with-a-chance-of-ginger/#preview

    You got ripped off. This guy clearly stole your work without any citation at all (and a much lamer recipe, to boot, yanking out half the ginger).

  • Devo_N says:

    Incidentally, I love this recipe. I don’t have the juicer, and using the microplaner is too much of a PITA. So finely chop the ginger in my Cuisinart, using your idea of 1.5 oz ginger = 1 oz juice. So, 1.5 oz chopped ginger and 2 Oz lemon juice. Then I let it steep for 24 hours, and put it through a french press (Got that idea from another of your recipes). Add the simple syrup or agave nectar to the ginger/lemon juice and I have the syrup.
    Great stuff. All my friends are hooked. Works great without the rum, too.

  • Ben says:

    Jeff,

    I just discovered your blog. First, it’s great, thank you. Second, totally want to make barrel-aged Negroni’s and my own ginger beer now.

    I also have a question about the iSi Soda Siphon, are you satisfied with it? I’ve thought about getting a soda siphon for a while now but some reviews I read described the iSi as producing weak and unsatisfying carbonation. I’ve been considering the SodaStream, but it is much more expensive and has propriety carbonators, which is a bit of a turn off.

    And I have a suggestion, as a long time homebrewer. For the adding of the yeast to the ginger beer you may want to consider rehdyrating the yeast or using a yeast starter, instead of adding the dry yeast directly to the bottles. That way you have a better chance of even carbonation across all the bottles and avoiding some individual bottles not being carbonated. My apologies if someone already mentioned this, as I didn’t read through all 199 comments.

    Anyways, thanks for the great writing.

  • Kristy says:

    Made aquadruole sized batch of this and used 3 bottles, with about 22oz in each.

    Oneof my bottles is pink now. Any ideas why? It hasonly been 4-ish hours since they were set aside…

  • Aamanda Cote says:

    As a woman that has been making ginger everything i can get my hands on i will surely be testing this out. In fact as i type i have 12 bottles of ginger ale sitting on my counter fermenting. I would like to add something for you. When i prepare my ginger for ale i chop a cup of it very fine in the afternoon and put in the crock pot. in the evening before bed i add peppermint leaves. I like peppermint so i put about 1/3 of a cup. i bottle the next afternoon to give the ginger and leaves plenty of time. my recipie calls for 9 quarts of water and i have about four of it in the crock pot.
    my ginger ale goes good with my ginger chocolate chip cookies!!

  • Noelle says:

    “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.”

    I’m confused, when did you visit Bermuda? In the 1920s? Because unlike some islands in the Carribean (which we are not, we are all alone in the Atlantic) we don’t live in or sell products from “little wooden shacks”, not even on our beaches, we live in structurally-sound concrete block and limestone houses and we shop at proper liquor and grocery stores.

    If I seem a little testy it’s only because I’m so tired of the fact that many people (if they’ve even heard of Bermuda) think that we live in huts over here.

    Love your blog though. Only happened upon it recently, that’s why the very delayed response.

    P.S. Two men are sitting at a bar drinking ‘Dark ‘n Stormys’. One with a lime, one without. Guess which one is not Bermudian? (Hint: Where are you from Jeff?)

    • Noelle, I’d apologize for being a salesman, but I can’t. I’m trying to sell the idea of fresh, homemade ginger beer to my readers, much in the same way that I sell it to my guests at work: as a traditional, pastoral, homemade product.

      In my defense, I never named the bustling metropolitan island of Bermuda in my post, only as the home of Gosling’s Rum. But nevertheless, up here in the cold, dreary Pacific Northwest, we like to daydream a little of the Caribbean and imagine those white sandy beaches and little wooden shacks. Sue us.

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