Trinidad Homemade Ginger Beer

June 4, 2015
A refreshingly delicious ginger drink.

Using fresh ginger and spices. Another Caribbean Christmas favorite.

A tall, chilled glass of ginger beer with a slice of lime

I am addicted to ginger drinks!


I collect ginger ale by the cases. I have ginger tea in full stock.

And then there is the ginger beer.

Ginger beer is a Caribbean favorite. It can easily be Jamaican ginger beer or Barbados ginger beer.

The idea of the drink across the islands is the same, but as with everything else, there will be slight variations of processes.

This drink is on the opposite side of ginger ale. Unlike ginger ale's slight taste of ginger, ginger beer has a very heavy flavor of ginger that can at times "burn your chest" with the spice.

I am not too much of a fan of a burning chest, so my mom has been able to find a perfect blend of ginger for her recipe.

That makes this the best ginger beer recipe ever. (I may be biased.)




I am not even sure what to say ginger beer really is.

It's not really a beer. It is not considered an alcoholic. But it does go through a fermentation process which kinda is beer-like.

But we don't leave it long enough for it to get a full fermentation.

In fact, some people add alcohol to their ginger beer.

It is a staple drink not just in Trinidad and Tobago but across the Caribbean. It's especially common for us around Christmas time.

I don't want anyone to be wary of the beer term and think that this is a process to make. Ginger beer is an easy recipe.

The most important thing is that the ingredients, especially the ginger, are fresh so that you get a strong flavor.

As I mentioned there are different levels of ginger beer: Very strong (chest burning sting), medium (balanced flavor), or weak (where is the ginger in this?)

I know a lot of people who like that chest burning sting that can clear up your sinuses with one smell, I am not one of them. I like that medium drink with a nice balance of flavor and sweetness.

This recipe is a balanced one.

Ingredients for making ginger beer, water, ginger, limes, cloves, cinnamon


How to make ginger beer from scratch


You will need to make sure the things you are using for this is as fresh as possible. Especially the ginger.

The best way to choose ginger is to make sure that it doesn't have too many wrinkles on the skin. When you start to see more wrinkles it means it's getting old.

Also the harder it is to scrape away the skin with your nail means it's also starting to dry out.

So the best ginger is one that has fewer wrinkles or wrinkle-free and the skin is easy to scrape off.

If you happen to buy ginger root a few days prior to you using it to make your drink, the best place to store it would be in the fridge.

You can store it in a paper bag or a plastic bag.

Freezing is also a good option. I would chop it up prior to freezing it so that when I'm ready to use it to make the drink it is already chopped up.

Alongside the ginger, you will need fresh lime, cloves, bitters, rice, sugar, water.

A lot of sugar is needed for ginger beer, especially if you don't want that extremely strong ginger taste alone.

Chopped up ginger on a chopping board

What makes ginger beer so delicious is the blending of the flavors as it sits.

And this is where you want to really make sure you get some nice, good, fresh ginger.

Which makes choosing good ginger so important as I mentioned above.

What is the rice for?


I always get questions about the rice in my recipe.

Rice helps with fermentation.

Long time to get the ginger to start fermenting they would leave the blended ginger and spices in the sun. Instead of doing that, the rice is used instead.

So if you don't have rice, or don't want to use it, you can leave the mix in the sun somewhere for 24 hours.

You have to make the ginger "sit" which is the fermentation part for the "beer". The lime and cinnamon addition while the ginger ferments lend for a great flavor.

Close up of two chilled glasses of ginger beer

Now in the recipe, I say to add sugar to taste.

You will be adding a lot of sugar. I don't mean like 3 tablespoons. It might be way more than that.

Everyone has varying taste profiles with this which is why I didn't give an exact amount of sugar.

If you like your drink very very gingery, then less sugar is needed.

If you like it mild, then sugar AND more water might be needed.

Honestly, about a 1/2 cup of sugar is what I need to put to get to the balance of sweet and ginger I want personally.

So don't be afraid that you keep have to be adding sugar

Close up of two glasses of ginger beer with cloves and limes

I've always used granulated (white) sugar so as to not darken the drink too much.

I have never tried using agave or any other substitute but you are free to "sweeten as you like".

Remember that the ginger is the star in this drink so we don't want to overpower the taste too much.

Not just with sweetener but also when you are adding clove to the mix. Clove can overpower ginger surprisingly, so be careful how much you add to the mixture.

Best way to drink ginger beer


Over iiiiceee!

Or chilled is fine too. 

Either way, this is such a refreshing drink.

And just so you know, this has the option to be boozy.

All you need to do is add vodka or rum to your batch. And voila!!

Trinidad Homemade Ginger Beer

Storage of ginger beer


Always make sure you store in an airtight container. It lasts longer and stays fresher.

Once refrigerated it lasts a long time.

Be mindful that you will continue to see sediment dropping even though you have strained the ginger beer. That is normal.

If you have cheesecloth, that would strain better than a strainer if you really wanted to get more sediment out. But, honestly, it is not a real issue.

I can't imagine as younger Renz why I refused to drink ginger beer. I felt that it was too strong of a drink.

I am still cautious when others offer me their ginger beer as I never know how strong it is.

This recipe is a winner and I encourage you, if you are not a ginger lover, to try this and let me know what you think.

It's easy and I am very sure you would like it. AND you can booze it out if you wish. Or even use it as a base for a Moscow mule.

Have you ever heard of, much less, had ginger beer?

What to pair with ginger beer


Because the drink has a little kick it's great to accompany dessert-type foods.














Homemade Ginger Beer
Beverages
Caribbean
Yield: 4-6
Author: Renz @ HomeMadeZagat
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Ginger Beer

Ginger Beer

An easy recipe to make this refreshing ginger drink that is popular in the Caribbean especially around Christmas time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh ginger
  • Peel of 1 lime
  • 8 cups of water
  • Sugar to taste
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon full cloves
  • 1 tablespoon raw rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon rum (optional)
  • Angostura Bitters

Instructions:

  1. Wash and chop ginger up into chunks
  2. Blend ginger with 3 cups of water
  3. Add lime peel, rice, cinnamon stick to the ginger mixture and leave to set overnight
  4. Strain mixture
  5. Add additional water to the mixture and sweeten to taste
  6. Add a dash of Angostura bitters, vanilla essence, and rum
  7. Pour into a clean bottle or jug
  8. Add cloves and refrigerate
  9. Serve on crushed ice or chilled
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Renz HomeMadeZagat
Renz HomeMadeZagat

Hi guys, I’m Renz. I am the chief cook and bottle washer here at HomeMadeZagat. I am here sharing Caribbean recipes that I grew up eating and new ones I’ve fallen in love with over the years. I just want to showcase the amazing diversity of Caribbean food and that everyone can recreate these dishes.

Comments

  1. Hi, my mom was from Trinidad and we always had a huge bottle of her Ginger Beer in the fridge. She made it herself and would put it in a huge glass jar with a heavy cover out in the sun to ferment. I remember it being out there for days. It was the kind that burns which I LOVE! When you say "rice" in the ingredients, do you mean raw or cooked rice? I don't remember her putting in rice, do you know if that's common? I don't remember cinnamon either, but I do remember the cloves! YUM. Just wondering about the rice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I yes. It's raw rice. Rice helps to speed up the fermentation a bit with the ginger beer. You strain it off before drinking :)

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