Ginger beer is a delicious beverage made from the ginger beer plant of Jamaica which contains the yeast and bacterium for fermentation. Read our guide for more facts & information…
The drink is also flavored with either lemon or lime and has a strong pungent taste. While it is said that the best ginger in the world grows in Jamaica, it is possible to make ginger beer anywhere ginger root is available. It may not be quite as good as the Jamaican variety, but it’s a lot closer to home.
Making Jamaican Ginger Beer
To make Jamaican ginger beer, you will need a food processor, ¾ of a pound of ginger root, one cup of sugar and three cups of water. The ginger root should be cut into pieces and placed in the food processor with the water and sugar and pureed until it is smooth with few lumps. Set the ginger beer mixture in a cool, dry, dark place for about 24 hours to ferment. Strain the liquid to remove any lumps or pieces of ginger and add two quarts of water and 3 more cups of sugar. Add Two ounces of lemon or lime juice and the ginger beer is ready. Ginger beer should be served very cold, so place it on the top shelf of the refrigerator for several hours before serving. Refreshing and exotic, home made ginger beer will impress party guests.
History of the Jamaican Ginger Beer Plant
The first ginger beer plants appeared around the middle of the 1700s during the colonization of the Caribbean islands and North and South America. Early ginger beer actually contained about 11% alcohol by volume and became popular first in England and toward the end of the century in both the United States and Canada. The beverage was effervescent and was exported in stoneware jugs to avoid exploding glass bottles. It remained very popular until the U.S. government passed prohibition which closed down many small producers that never reopened. By adding a small amount of yeast to the ginger syrup as it ferments, it is possible to create a higher alcoholic content when brewing ginger beer.
Ginger Beer is Found Mostly in Jamaica
While the commercial ginger beer plants in England and America no longer exist, ginger beer continues to be brewed in small amounts in Jamaica for use by individuals, restaurants and bars. With their superior ginger plants, Jamaicans are able to produce a high quality beer and most do add yeast in order to increase the alcohol content of the drink. Tourists can enjoy native ginger beer when visiting Jamaica at a variety of local establishments which make their own ginger beer much like microbreweries in the U.S. produce beer for their own customers.
Visitors to Jamaica are encouraged to enjoy this delightful native beverage in a variety of local establishments. They can also find recipes for ginger beer online and make their own ginger beer. Like Jamaican locals, tourists can experiment with different additives and recipes until they find one that suits their personal taste. Maybe ginger beer will reclaim its lost popularity.