I usually start preparing my fermented ginger beer around this time of the year. I like having it on hand to offer to family and friends when they visit. It's a simple process but it takes over a week to get the finished drink into a bottle and sometimes, as it's a natural fermented drink, it doens't go according to plan and I end up with a ginger concoction I have to throw away. This way of living is an ever-evolving process, I'm always hoping to improve what I do, so I decided to look for a healthy drink that I could make up overnight, or in one day, and still be happy to offer it to guests.
Enter ginger cordial. I wanted to stay with a ginger drink because I can grow ginger here and I think the ginger family - ginger, turmeric, cardamom and galangal - contains many health giving properties.
The easiest way to peel ginger is by scraping a teaspoon over the skin. When the skin is off, just cut the hard bits off with a sharp knife.
- piece fresh ginger about three inches/8cm
- 1½ litres/quarts tap water
- 1 cup sugar
- rind one lemon
Peel and grate the ginger. Grating is better than slicing because the greater surface area you have, the better the flavour. Place the grated ginger, water, sugar and lemon rind in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Stir to make sure all the sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat, put the lid on the saucepan and leave on the stove top over night. The next morning, strain the ginger liquid through a muslin cloth over a strainer, sitting in a jug. Pour the ginger cordial into clean bottles and store it in the fridge.
To make up a drink, pour a small amount (40mls/2oz) of ginger cordial into a glass and fill the glass with cold natural mineral water or soda water. We're using the Aldi mineral water which is 79 cents per 1.25 litre bottle. Add ice and a lemon slice. You can also drink it using cold tap water or as an addition to your hot black tea.
I didn't use the muslin with this batch and ended up with sediment in the bottles. Next time I'll remove that by using a muslin cloth to strain the liquid.
This is a really delicious drink, and I think it's as good (or better) as the well known ginger beer brands, including Bundaberg. This is the ingredients list for Bundaberg ginger beer: Carbonated water, cane sugar, ginger root, natural flavours, acid (citric acid), yeast, preservatives (202, 211), antioxidant (asccorbic acid).
I encourage you to try it. It's easier to make than the fermented drink and you can cook up a batch in a short amount of time instead of waiting over a week for it to ferment. Having said that, I'll still be making the fermented drink as well when I have more time. This is an addition to my homemade drinks repertoire, not an instead-of.