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English Recipes

Traditional English Recipe - Ginger Beer

This is a refreshing non-alcoholic drink. Please follow the directions carefully. I can still remember one hot summer when all the bottles exploded and the pantry was covered in a sticky mess!


Materials needed

A large bowl
Clean bottles (wine or champagne)
Corks for sealing

A traditional recipe (serves 4)


450g (1lb) sugar
4½ ltrs (8 pints) water
1 lemon
40g (1½oz) root ginger
25g (1 oz) cream of tartar
25g (1 oz) brewers or wine yeast


  1. Bruise the ginger to release the flavour.
  2. Finely peel the lemon, removing only the outer waxy layer and squeeze the juice.
  3. Place the ginger, lemon rind and cream of tartar into a bucket or large bowl.
  4. Pour over the boiling water, add the lemon juice and stir well.
  5. Allow to cool to about 21°C (70°F), remove a little of the liquid and mix with the yeast, stir the yeast mixture into the liquid.
  6. Cover the container with a clean cloth (ensuring that the cloth cannot come into contact with the liquid) and secure with string or elastic.
  7. Leave in a warm place 21°C (70°F) for 24 hours.
  8. Strain the liquid through a fine cloth or skim off the froth and use a jug to bale out the liquid (being careful not to disturb the sediment).
  9. Pour the ginger beer into strong bottles and cork.
  10. Secure the corks with wire, leaving a little play (for possible expansion).
  11. Store the bottle in a cool dark place.
  12. If the corks begin to rise, release the wire slightly and re-secure.
  13. The beer should be ready to drink after 2 - 3 days.


To bruise: To apply pressure to an ingredient to help release its flavour, eg pound the lemon grass with a rolling pin to bruise it.

To peel: To remove the outer layer of a food.

To pour: To transfer a liquid from one container to another.

To strain: To pass wet ingredients through a sieve to remove lumps or pieces of food, eg strain the stock to remove any small pieces of meat or flavourings.

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