Homemade soda reminds me of summers when I was a kid. We made our own root beer with Heirs Root Beer Extract, sugar, yeast and water. The height of summer vacation was root-beer floats with homemade vanilla ice-cream. The local Feed and Grain store had the bottle caps, manual bottle capper and extract. The fermenting room was my brother’s top bunk bed where the root beer brewed in the hot summer days. Everyone anxiously awaited the first bottle to pop its top. It was great fun and so delicious. Of-course we passed on the tradition to our kids and grand-kids.
Everything you need to make your own soda pop is available in Brew Shops, Walmart, hardware stores, canning supply shops and some supermarkets even stock the extracts. The last time I bought a capper was at Coast to Coast hardware and they also sold stubby bottles.
This recipe for Ginger Beer (ale) is made in a 2-Liter PET bottle so you won’t need caps or a capper. It is super easy to make and carbonates itself so there’s no need to buy soda water. Here in the islands, where its summertime year round, I make this several times a year. Its great to have on hand for upset stomachs or bloating or just a refreshing drink over ice. You can adjust the sugar to taste or use honey, stevia or agave. Do not use artificial sweeteners. Give this recipe a try and be sure to let the kids help.
Ingredients for a 2-litre bottle:
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar (1/3 cup stevia or 2/3 cup agave)
- 1/8 tsp yeast (brew’s yeast or bread yeast will do)
- 1/2 cup fresh ginger root with skin on, scrubbed and chopped roughly (about 2 big knobs 4 inches long)
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 2 litres filtered water
- Place chopped ginger in a stainless steel sauce pan. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.
- Strain liquid into a bowl, discard ginger or save for a stir-fry. Add sugar to make a syrup. Stir until sugar dissolves.
- Using a funnel, pour the syrup into a 2 litre PET bottle. Add 1 Liter filtered water, the yeast, and lime juice. Shake the bottle to mix and then add the remaining filtered water up to 1/2-inch from top of the bottle. Cap tightly and let set in a warm area until bottle looks somewhat ballooned and feels hard as a rock when squeezed around the middle. This could take 12 hours or longer depending upon temperature of room. Set it where you would proof a yeast bread.
- Refrigerate over night before drinking. Refrigeration stops the carbonation process. Sediment will collect on the bottom of the bottle so take care when decanting.