Summer has finally arrived in London. And with the recent hot weather, there's nothing better than a cold ginger beer. If you're buying it ready made, I would recommend Fentiman's botanically brewed traditional ginger beer. It's made in the old fashioned way, is strong on the ginger, and easy on the sugar; and is sold in attractive bottles.
If you want to make ginger beer yourself (and I hope that you will), there's much more to it than initially meets the eye. While researching this post, I discovered a whole sub-culture of ginger beer freaks on the net. Their obsession revolves around the mysterious "ginger beer plant". This is essentially, a living "culture", which in some cases, gets passed down from generation to generation. You need to feed it, and it grows- it's alive!
First, here's a way to make the "ginger beer plant": In a jam jar mix together: half an ounce of brewer's yeast, a teaspoon of sugar, a teaspoon of ground ginger, and a cup of cold water. Feed it for seven days, giving it a teaspoon of ginger, and a teaspoon of sugar every day.
Once you've got your ginger beer plant up and running, you're ready to make ginger beer. Pour the juice of four lemons into a large bowl, and add three cupfuls of sugar. Stir. Add five cups of boiling water, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Next, pour in twelve cups of cold water, and stir again. Strain the juice of the ginger beer plant through some muslin into the bowl.
After two hours, you can start to bottle up the ginger beer. Fill them up to about three quarters high. You will need bottles with corks, as screw-top bottles might explode. Make sure the corks are not too tight, otherwise the ginger beer won't ferment. Store in a cool place, but don't keep the ginger beer on a cold floor.