This traditional Caribbean recipe for ginger beer is the cousin of the American ginger ale. Like the majority of recipes, they can vary according to regions. In Trinidad, they use clove, cinnamon and lime but in Jamaica, they add fresh pineapple to the drink. However, most all Caribbean ginger beer has a strong ginger flavor.
To sweeten your drink it’s recommended you use raw sugar but you can substitute other sweeteners if desired. If you like your ginger beer sweeter, just add more sugar.
Note: This Ginger Beer recipe contains no alcohol.
Caribbean Ginger Beer
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- 1 lbs fresh ginger root
- 12 cups water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6 cloves
- ¼ tsp allspice
- ⅛ tsp nutmeg
- ½ lime juiced (save peel)
- 1 ½ cup raw sugar more if desired
- Wash and peel the skin off the ginger. Rinse the ginger. Grate or blend the peeled ginger in a blender or food processor. Grating the ginger is best, it brings out the flavor.
- Place the ginger, lime juice, cinnamon stick, cloves and 3/4 cup of the sugar into a wide-mouthed gallon glass or ceramic jar.
- In a large non-reactive (see notes) pot, add water, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg and the lime peel, bring to a boil. Turn heat off and then add the raw sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Do a taste test, add more sweetener if desired. Mix in the fresh grated ginger and the juice from the lime.
- Allow the ginger mixture to cool to room temperature. Cover and leave the mixture in the pot or pour it into a large jar with a lid. Refrigerate the ginger beer for at least 24 hours or up to a week. The longer it sits, the better the flavor.
- When ready to serve, strain the beverage through a cheesecloth or fine colander. After the ginger beer is strained, press the solids to remove all liquid. Throw away the solids.
- Serve cold. Garnish with lime wedges, fresh mint or a slice of ginger.
History of Ginger
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a flowering plant whose rhizome, ginger root or ginger, is widely used as a spice and a folk medicine. It’s a herbaceous perennial which grows annual pseudostems (false stems made of the rolled bases of leaves) about one meter tall bearing narrow leaf blades. The inflorescences bear flowers having pale yellow petals with purple edges, and arise directly from the rhizome on separate shoots.
The Ginger Root was used as early as 500 BC as a medicine and for flavoring food in Ancient China and India. The origins of Ginger Beer date back to the colonial spice trade in the 18th century with the Orient and the sugar-producing islands of the Caribbean.
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