Photo by Andrew Cebulka

A wild forager and food enthusiast, he curates jars of strange bubbling liquids, the lifeblood of a fermenter, and speaks of the probiotic effects of kombucha and ginger beer the way a new age yogi pines for Kangen water.

recipe heading-plus-icon

  • Ginger Beer
  • 3 gallons water
  • 2 pounds ginger
  • 2 cups organic sugar
  • Ginger beer bug starter (recipe follows)
  • Zest of 1 tangerine
  • 5 stalks lemongrass
  • roughly chopped to 2-inch pieces
  • 1 ripe pineapple,juiced
  • Ginger Beer Bug Starter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup water, left on counter for at least 24 hours
  • 2 ounces organic ginger
  1. Fill a 5-gallon beer bucket with 3 gallons water when you start the ginger bug (recipe below). Let it sit out (covered with a kitchen towel) to allow it to dechlorinate.
  2. Juice the ginger and add to dechlorinated water along with the sugar.
  3. Add ginger bug starter.
  4. Add tangerine zest and fronds/stalks of lemongrass.
  5. To make the beer sweeter (and less like kombucha) add juice of one ripe pineapple for a better balance of flavor.
  6. Using a long-handled plastic or wooden spoon, whip in a clockwise then counterclockwise fashion at least 4 and ideally 8 times per day.
  7. Around Day 3 “beer” will be fermenting (bubbles will rise, and a lightly bubbling sound will occur when you listen closely). The ambient temperature is ideal at 72−75 degrees…the hotter it is, the quicker it ferments.
  8. Taste from Day 2 until you find it “right.” I usually wait until Day 5 or 6 to drink it. Before you drink it, you’ll want to bottle it. Use a plastic screw-top bottle (a cheap alternative to close-hitched glass bottles, and less dangerous should the bottle explode). To avoid an explosion, fill no more than 1 inch from the top, or the pressure can build too much. Let sit on counter for about 24-36 hours until bottle is firm to the touch. The beer should be effervescent. Refrigerate and drink it cold. It will keep in the refrigerator for a while, but it will lose vibrancy, so drink up.

Ginger Beer Bug Starter

  1.  Put sugar in a sterilized vessel. Pour in water that has been left out on counter for at least 24 hours (this dechlorinates it).
  2. Finely dice ginger on a clean surface. (Organic ginger works best. Conventional ginger works but takes longer and the flavor is not as good.)
  3. Use a wooden skewer to “whip” or agitate the ginger-water-sugar mixture.
  4. Leave the top of the vessel open and covered with a cloth. Agitate a couple of times a day until little bubbles form on top. If you listen to the “bug,” you can hear it bubbling. It’s usually ready in 2−4 days.

Leave a Reply

Be the first to comment.