Canning and Preserving - The Summer Series: Ginger Beer

This tropical brew is non-alcoholic and very gingery. One sip and you'll feel the island breeze blowing across your face and hear the sound of steel drums. I like it strong over ice with a squeeze of lime, but if you want a sizzle to your drink, add some seltzer water. It makes a great "tender tummy" brew, chasing a belly ache or indigestion away (one of the kids favorite "mama's remedies"). It also makes the tastiest Dark and Stormy cocktail (The "official National Drink" of Bermuda) that you've ever dared to tipple.

See the recipe below, after the recipe for Ginger Beer. I'll get a picture up as soon as this batch of brew is ready....I can hardly wait!!!

Wash 1 pound of ginger root and grate it (unpeeled). I use the grater on the food processor and it works really nicely.

Put the grated ginger in a big pot or bowl (something with a lid works best) . Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil, then remove from heat. Add it to the ginger.

Stir, put the lid on and steep overnight at room temperature.

Juice 4 or 5 limes,'ll need a half cup.

Strain the ginger water into a large bowl. Press out the water from the ginger, so you get all the goodness!

Add the lime juice and 1 cup of light brown sugar to the ginger water. You can use regular light brown sugar, but I prefer to use Demerara Sugar shown above which is what would be used in the Islands. Florida Crystals is a brand that is environmentally conscious and makes a good product.

Stir vigorously with a whisk. Adjust to your taste with extra sugar if you like. I think one cup is just perfect.

Cover and store at room temperature; let mixture steep for 24 hours. Decant to a bottles with a tight fitting lid or jars and refrigerate for 3 to 5 days. The waiting is the hardest part!!! Enjoy!

Ginger Beer

3 Quarts Water
1 pound ginger root, washed, unpeeled and grated
1/2 cup lime juice (about 5 limes worth)
1 to 1 1/2 cups Demerara or light brown sugar, loosely packed

In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil, then remove from heat. Add ginger and steep overnight. Strain into a big bowl or pot , pressing the ginger to release the flavor and get all the liquid. Add lime juice, 1 cup of the sugar and stir vigourously. Adjust to your taste with the remaining sugar. Cover and store at room temperature; let mixture steep (and the dregs settle) for 24 hours. Decant to bottles with tight fitting screw tops or hinge tops and refrigerate for 3-5 days. Enjoy!!

Dark and Stormy Cocktail

1/4 lime
2 ounces dark rum (Goslings Black Seal Bermuda Black Rum or another Bermuda Black Rum is best)
10 ounces of ginger beer (recommended: Milligan's Island Tropical Mango Ginger Beer)
Lime wedge, for garnish, optional

Fill a 12-ounce glass with ice. Squeeze the lime wedge over the ice in the glass. Drop the wedge into the glass. Pour the rum into the glass. Add the ginger beer. Stir lightly and garnish with another lime wedge, if desired.