Thruston's Ginger Beer
I needed a recipe for ginger beer. I gave up on finding a recipe online. Most of the recipes I found called to make a simple syrup with ginger. In my heart I know that couldn't be right. Then came my Jamaican-Guyanese friend Thurston. We met on the ferry ride home from the beach, and he let me in on Caribbean home brewed techniques and secrets.
Thurston's Ginger Beer
2 quarts water (1/2 cup reserved)
1 large ginger root peeled
(Thurston indicated that the piece be the size of a man's 4 fingers and palm)
1/2 cup rice
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup turbinado or raw sugar
1 quart seltzer water
lemon slices to garnish
Heat all but 1/2 cup of the water over high heat in a pot. Meanwhile puree the ginger in a Cuisinart, or a blender until smooth. Place the ginger puree, rice, and salt in a tall glass pitcher or jar with a good lid. Add the water when hot, but not boiling to the pitcher and stir. I like to put the lid of my jar on and shake. Cover and place in fridge for 2-3 days, shaking/stirring periodically.
Strain through a fine mesh sieve or cheese cloth, squeezing to remove fluids from the rice/ginger puree. I had to strain mine twice. Heat 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup sugar until sugar dissolves. Add to ginger beer, and stir.
Now comes the moment of truth. Taste your serious biting sharp ginger beer. I found I needed 2 to 1 ginger beer to seltzer to tame it just enough. More sugar may be necessary, but this isn't exactly your grandmother's Vernors, so don't over do it. Add lemon slices to make it pretty.
What makes this recipe real is that you don't cook the ginger, its full of raw ginger power. I am not sure what the rice does. Certainly it adds some starch to the mix, maybe curbs the bitterness of the ginger? It works.