Little Tipples: Homemade Ginger Beer

by Sean St. John on December 19, 2013

in British Inspiration, Drinks, Kitchen


This is the last (and most explosive) installment of Katt Frank and Sean St. John’s Little Tipples Collaboration. Along the way they’ve introduced us to Sloe Gin, Blackberry Bourbon, and Brandied Cherries. Beer seems like a natural conclusion then, especially with the holiday twist of ginger! -Amy

Homemade ginger beer is fiery, spicy, viciously bubbly and incredibly moreish. It can be a bit potent too, at around 5% ABV, so watch out – I’ve woken up too many times with a bit of a headache from this one. But its simple to make, and giving a few bottles out at the New Year is one of the best gifts I can think of. Most of my friends don’t believe it’s homemade, which I take as a great compliment.

When making the Ginger Beer, just note that the yeast produces a lot of gas, which can result in gingery explosions. But if you keep an eye out and follow the instructions, you’ll save yourself a kitchen disaster.  For the ginger beer, you will need 2 x plastic quart bottles (do not use glass, as the pressure can build up and shatter glass). Feel free to double the recipe; this beer disappears  quickly once you’ve tried it!

Homemade Ginger Beer


  • ¼ tsp. brewer’s yeast
  • 7oz caster sugar
  • 2/3 inch piece of fresh ginger root
  • 2 lemons – juice only
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 quarts warm water

Equipment: 2 quart plastic bottles


  1. To start, add the brewer’s yeast to a large mixing bowl. Add the caster sugar.
  2. Then grate the fresh ginger root. The fresher the ginger is, the spicier the beer will be. Add the ginger along with 2 cloves and the juice of the lemons.
  3. Add 2 quarts of warm, but not hot, water. Cover the bowl with cling-film and leave somewhere warm overnight, or for about 6 hours.
  4. Next you’ll need to pour the liquid into the 2 plastic containers. Screw on the caps and leave somewhere warm for about 3 days. At this stage, you’ll need to release the gas every day to stop the bottles from exploding. You’ll know it’s time when the bottles become rock hard to touch. Sometimes they’ll need letting off more frequently – just keep an eye on them. To let off the gas, all you do is undo the cap slightly until the gas escapes, then tighten back up again.
  5. Do not leave over 5 days otherwise they start to loose their fizz. When ready, filter the liquid with a coffee filter or muslin, and pour into some decorative bottles for friends. A couple of bottles for each friend should keep them happy. Save some for yourself and drink over ice, or for a superb, but stiffer drink, add a slug of blackberry bourbon.

Illustration by Katt Frank.

Eat Boutique  discovers the best small batch foods by boutique food makers. We share recipes, maker stories and city guides to eating boutique. We host tasting events and markets for food makers, cookbook authors and food fans. We craft seasonal, regional gift and tasting boxes and sell individual items that you can order in the Eat Boutique Shop. You can also follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagramTumblr and Pinterest.


Sean St. John

Sean St John is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and spirits. He is particularly interested in food’s natural seasons, fresh produce and artisan producers with a real passion for their craft. He currently lives in Cornwall, UK, an area known for its seafood and farming. He is always on the lookout for new and exciting food and drink to try and buy and write about, and is currently working on Four, a British seasonal cookery book with illustrator Katt Frank. You can see more of his work at Wildwood & Shore.


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