80g fresh root ginger, sliced

200g caster sugar, plus extra to serve

1⁄4 tsp cream of tartar

2 lemons, sliced

1⁄4 tbsp fresh yeast


home-brewing bottles (3–4 x 750ml or 8–10 x 250ml bottles) and a temperature probe

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Ginger Beer

SERVES: Makes 2–2.5 litres

This drink is great fun to make but be warned that it must be left to brew for three days before serving. The addition of yeast makes the beer fizzy so it must be stored in bottles able to withstand high pressure. These are widely available from home-brew shops. To serve, you can add a little extra sugar to Mrs Beeton’s original recipe if you have a sweet tooth, or drink it straight up, just as she intended, for a dry, refreshing draught.

Preparation time 10 minutes, plus 3 days brewing time

Place the ginger, sugar, cream of tartar and 200ml cold water in the jug of a liquidizer. Blend until smooth, then pour into a large bowl. Add 2.3 litres boiling water, and the lemon, then cool until it is just warm to the touch, or a temperature probe registers 38ºC.

Now place the yeast in a small bowl, stir in a tablespoonful of the liquid and mix to blend. Add this mixture to the remainder of the cooled liquid and leave overnight.

Sterilise the bottles: remove any rubber seals, then place the washed bottles on a baking sheet lined with newspaper and put them in a low oven heated to 120ºC/ gas mark 1⁄2 for half an hour. Place the rubber seals in a

small pan of boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes, then allow them to air dry on a tray covered with a clean cloth.

Leave the bottles in the oven to cool, then replace the seals and seal until you are ready to fill them.

Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a large jug for ease of pouring and decant into the bottles. Wrap each bottle in a few layers of newspaper and stand them in a bucket covered with a towel in case of an explosion. Store them at room temperature.

After 3 days place the bucket in a sink, lift off the towel and unwrap and open as many bottles as you need. To serve, place 1⁄2 tsp caster sugar in the bottom of each glass, add a few ice cubes and top up with the beer. The beer can be kept for up to 1 month in a cool, dark place.