In South Korea ginger beer is consumed regularly with most meals of the day, there are many good store bought options but we like to make our own. This style is made with champagne yeast and becomes slightly alcoholic depending on the length of fermentation.
2 1/2 cups of warm filtered water
1 1/2 tsp of champagne yeast
Several roots of ginger (which should always be stocked in the house)
Finely ground cane sugar
2 lemons juice
1 tsp chilli powder
1 large mason jar
2 large plastic bottles
We begin by essentially making a “starter” for our ginger beer which we will be feeding every day for the first week. Start by mixing your yeast into the water until fully dissolved. Add 1 tbsp grated ginger, 1 tbsp ground cane sugar, lemon juice and chilli. Stir all of the ingredients together until they are well mixed. Pour this mixture into a large mason jar, screw on the lid with a bit of cheesecloth over top. Find a warm and dark place for it to live in. Now every day for the next week you will be feeding it a tbsp of sugar and a tbsp of ground ginger. Don’t worry about it becoming sweet because the yeast will be feeding off of the sugar and will in turn give you alcohol and carbonation. Make sure that the space you put it in isn’t too cold otherwise the yeast will go dormant and the reaction will not take place. After a week you should see and hear bubbles forming. You can play a little bit with the amounts of sugar and ginger you feed it. We personally like ours with a real big ginger kick, adjust ginger amounts to suit your taste.
Now we are ready to bottle it up. Fill the 2 bottles 2 thirds of the way with warm filtered water and mix in 2 cups of sugar. Strain the “starter” with cheesecloth and divide the liquid evenly amongst the 2 plastic bottles, we then like to add in a spoonful of the strained shredded ginger. Top the bottles off with enough water so that the bottles are almost filled, leaving a small gap of air at the top. Place the bottles back in the warm dark area where the first fermentation took place. You will want to check on the pressure of these every day, when the bottles are too hard to get any squeeze out of them you will want to carefully unscrew the top and release gas. DO NOT forget about these in your cupboards because the WILL explode if they are not tended to. The ginger beer will ferment in the plastic bottle like this for 2 weeks at which point they should have developed a bit of alcohol and carbonation. Now they can be moved into your fridge but still be sure to keep a close eye on the pressure buildup otherwise you will have a big mess to clean up. Enjoy on its own or with our Seoul Mule recipe.