The Secret To Making Homemade Ginger Beer

Whether you love Moscow mules or just enjoy ginger beer all on its own, we have exciting news for the drink's enthusiasts — you can make your own ginger beer at home! Be warned, this recipe is no lunchtime soft drink, as it contains slightly less alcohol than your average light beer. 

To get started, Food52 tells us you'll need 2-1/2 cups of warm filtered water, 1-1/2 teaspoons of champagne yeast, freshly grated ginger, granulated sugar, the juice of two lemons, a large glass jar, two or three clean plastic soda bottles, and one optional sliced jalapeño if you'd like an additional spicy kick. You'll make a "plant" by first dissolving your champagne yeast in the water. Next, you'll need to add a tablespoon of freshly grated ginger, a tablespoon of sugar, all of the lemon juice, and the sliced jalapeño if you're using it. Pour everything into your glass jar and cover using a kitchen towel secured with a rubber band. Store the jar somewhere warm, preferably by a radiator or heat vent. 

The fermentation process

Every day for a week, you'll want to carefully take off the towel covering your jar and add another tablespoon each of grated ginger and sugar. Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves and re-cover the jar with your towel. After one week, dissolve enough sugar into water so that it tastes as sweet as soda and fill your plastic bottles up 2/3 of the way with the liquid. Replace the towel covering your jar with cheesecloth and strain the plant into another container. Add about a cup of the strained ginger plant to each plastic bottle of sugar water, adding more or less depending on how strong you want your ginger beer to be. Stir the mixture with a chopstick and taste to see if you need to add more plant or sugar water. Once the flavor tastes balanced, seal your bottles and keep them back in the same warm spot you stored your plant. If too much pressure builds in the bottles, release it a little by slightly unscrewing and then resealing the caps. After one and a half to two weeks, it's ready to go! Refrigerate your ginger beer and get drinking. 

Want your ginger beer to be even more boozy? Add 1-1/2 ounces of vodka, 1/2 ounce of lime juice, and some ice to 1/2 cup of ginger beer for a Moscow mule (via Allrecipes). Alternatively, take three ounces of ginger beer, add two ounces of dark rum and 1/2 ounce of lime juice, and you'll have a great dark and stormy (via Esquire).