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”

  • Alan – Please don’t. The pressure that builds up in a closed system can be very dangerous, especially with glass bottles. I suggest you follow the directions and proceed with a (mostly) non-alcoholic ginger brew.

  • Alan says:

    Alas, that is what I figured. I made enough for 8 bottles last night, and it smells wonderful. Followed everything to the letter, cannot wait to try it! It was very cheap to, I bought enough to make 16 bottles, and it was only 10 dollars.

  • Alan says:

    Hey Jeff-

    Glad to report a successful batch! Your recipe is perfect, and this beer is indeed delicious.

  • Mark says:

    I found out about ginger beer from a promotional booklet I received by Dr. David Williams, a medical doctor and pioneer in the field of alternative medicine. The teaser article was about a ‘beer’ that would aid digestions and alleviate GI problems. My gut, pardon the obvious pun, believed he was referring to ginger beer and my research proved me correct. And as I have irritable bowel syndrome, I searched for an easy recipe, finding one posted by a guy in London.

    The recipe uses a two liter soda bottle, 2 cups of sugar, 1/4 tsp. of baking yeast, a couple of tablespoons of grated ginger, and juice of half a lemon(or of a whole lime). Leaving about an inch of space at the top of the
    bottle, shake it up until the sugar at the bottom is mixed into the water, then put in a dark, warm place until the bottle becomes hard like an unopened soda bottle, which could anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. Put it in the fridge to chill and drink! I like the ginger pieces but if you don’t or are using it as a mixer, strain it as you pour or strain from one glass to another.

    From a medical standpoint, my gut problems are for the most part, gone, and the allergy I had to wheat appears to have been eliminated by the beneficial bacteria in the ginger beer. Next, going to make wine from Welch’s frozen grape juice.

  • Wow, Mark, that is certainly a lot of information to, uh, digest there. Thanks for sharing.

  • Ken says:


    Thanks for the great recipe! I’m looking forward to having a Dark & Stormy at Clyde Common with you!

    I’ve been brewing homemade beverages with E-Z Caps, which are basically 2-liter bottle caps with a hole in them and some form of rubber stopper. It’s a poor-man’s airlock that you affix to a plastic bottle to keep the pressure from escaping too much, so that you get an effervescent beverage that won’t burst the bottle.

    Mark, when you attempt your wine, you’ll want to use something other than frozen Welch’s grape juice, because the preservatives in the juice will retard the action of the yeast. Try getting some pasteurized Newman’s Own at Costco, or something that says 100% juice and doesn’t list any Sulfites or Sulfates in the ingredient list. Those will kill (or, like I say, retard) the yeast.

    Just some friendly advice from an experienced 2-liter-bottle-brewer. I’ve currently got some cranberry cider brewing, and some ginger beer sitting in the fridge. Yummy!

  • Mark says:

    Hey, Ken. Thanks for sharing your brewing tips. As for the Welch’s, I looked on the can before I made my purchase and it said 100% juice, no additives or preservatives and the the only two added ingredients are citric acid & ascorbic acid. There are also some wine making videos on YouTube where people are using Welch’s. At one time they might have added sulfites to their product but apparently not now. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Enjoy your Dark and Stormy.

  • katie says:

    I brewed up a quadruple batch of the ginger+lemon+syrup on friday night. I took in jars over to a party saturday along with my sodastream soda maker. I’d make a bottle of sparkling water, add the appropriate amount of the ginger mixture and then mix with rum. I have never seen people as in awe of a alcoholic beverage. One person remarked that it tasted “like a gingersnap” while it inspired others to recant stories of their time in Belize. Thanks Jeff!!

  • Ted says:

    Moscow mules were very popular in the 1940s. It wasn’t hard to find commercial ginger beer in stores. Makes a great summertime drink.

    But about thirty years ago, it started being harder to find ginger beer. Had a great recipe for it and brewed up large quantities so I could keep enjoying the ‘mules’.

    Have not made any in years and have missed the drink. Decided to try again so found your web site and just mixed up a batch in a 2 liter plastic bottle. Hope it turns out as great as what I’ve been reading here.

  • simonLloyd says:

    hi, im about to try your ginger beer recipe out, i was wondering if i should boil the liqid then cool before bottling, please reply, also dose this drink become alcaholic.


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