Ginger beer

Restaurateur Mariana Esterhuizen, author of new cookbook Mariana’s Country Kitchen, says her Ouma Franken had an endless supply of homemade biscuits and chilled ginger beer, which she dished out generously to her small grandchildren during summer. “Ouma used wet yeast and dried ginger in her recipe, but I prefer fresh ginger, and we have the advantage of instant dried yeast, which gives a more predictable result.”

Serves: Makes approximately 4½ litres

Preparation time: 15 minutes + 24 hours fermenting time


150g finely chopped fresh ginger
600g light brown sugar
1 litre warm water
1 sachet instant yeast
1t cream of tartar
60g raisins
3½ litres of water at room temperature


You will need:

  • A 5-litre container and a lid (if you are using a metal container, it must be made of stainless steel or enamel- coated)
  • sieve
  • muslin cloth
  • sterilised bottles with tight-fitting lids

Chop the unpeeled fresh ginger very finely (use a food processor to do this in no time) and put it in the fermentation container. Add the sugar and warm water, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the yeast, cream of tartar and raisins, stir again and add the rest of the water. Place a lid on the container and leave to ferment for 24 hours.

Pour the liquid through a sieve and discard the ginger pulp and most of the raisins. Rinse and set aside some raisins to add to the bottled ginger beer.

Strain the ginger beer through a fine, clean muslin cloth and pour into the bottles. Add two rinsed raisins to each bottle, close the lids tightly and refrigerate. Leave for at least five hours, but preferably overnight, until you see bubbles rising in the bottles. Then open very, very carefully, or you could end up like one of those motor-racing champions with ginger beer instead of champagne all over yourself and everybody else in the vicinity.

This recipe is courtesy of Mariana’s Country Kitchen, published by Human & Rousseau, which is available at good book stores at a recommended price of R350.



Leave a comment

Promoted Restaurants