Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Homemade Ginger Beer

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...The last several days have been unusually busy around here. We've been out to dinner and picnicked with friends, attended a local Scandinavian festival and spent a full day paddling on Waldo Lake in a "war" canoe that holds 12 people. The weather has been warm but within the realm of normal and the lake - ah, the lake - is achingly beautiful. I'm tired and have a couple of blisters on my hands, but all-in-all I've had a marvelous time. I like to be busy and I love new experiences. The Silver Fox, who is a more solitary soul, calls these busy days the "Mary-go-round." One of the things I came across while on my carousel was the Ginger Beer at P.F. Chang's. I've never had it before, so I gave it a try. The big difference between ginger beer and ginger ale is that ginger beer is brewed (fermented) but ginger ale is just carbonated water that’s been flavored with ginger. Now, I must tell you I was not particularly enamored by it, but I was curious to see how it was made, and after doing some research, I decided to experiment and see how the homemade version compared to the one we had at the restaurant. I made some changes to a simple recipe I found in The New York Times, and, voila, tonight we got to try the homemade version. If you like to experiment, I think you'll be tempted to try this recipe. You may never replace your love of ginger ale with ginger beer, but you'll never know if you don't try. Here is how homemade ginger beer is made.

Homemade Ginger Beer...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by The New York Times

Simple Syrup
1/2 pound sugar
1 (1.5 liter) plastic bottle distilled water
Ginger Beer
1/4 cup freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup simple syrup (from above)
1/8 teaspoon brewer's yeast
2-1/2 cups distilled water
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1) To make simple syrup: Pour bottled water into a pitcher. Reserve bottle. Bring 1 cup distilled water to a boil. Whisk into sugar stirring until sugar is dissolved.
2) To make ginger beer: Combine remaining ingredients in a quart measuring cup. Stir well. Pour mixture
back into plastic bottle and cap tightly. Store in a warm, dark place for 24 to 48 hours. The top of the bottle will expand and become tight. Check it and very slowly release the pressure if it’s looking overly tight. Some people ferment it with no top, or with the top on loosely, to allow gas to escape. The longer you let it ferment, the drier the final mix will be. After 48 hours, refrigerate it to stop fermentation. Once chilled, strain out pulp and dead yeast, which will have made a sediment on the bottom. Makes 1 liter and will keep up to a week in the refrigerator.

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