Give the kids some orange juice and let’s make some big-people ginger beer. Spiked with rum and balanced with the juice of freshly squeezed limes, this is NOT your grandmas ginger beer recipe. I took ah-borrow of my dad’s ginger beer recipe (which is very traditional), but you know I had to add my own twist on things. So YES.. this is my take on holiday ginger beer!
1 1/2 cups sugar *
3 drops Angostura bitters
1 teaspoon Mixed essence
5 Cups Water
4 Cups carbonated water
1 cup rum
Notes. The traditional way our dad would make ginger beer meant having it soak (steep) for at least a couple days, less limes and of course.. no rum was added. But after fermenting for a few days you’d have a very STRONG ginger beer. This recipe is very quick and a great way to enjoy excellent ginger beer without having to wait days.
In a large bowl grate (or puree with a blender) the ginger. You can peel the ginger first, but I prefer using it with the skin still on.. be sure to wash the ginger well though. Then add the juice of the limes and cloves. Heat 5 cups of water in your kettle or on the stove top and pour it into the bowl. This heated water will force the steeping process. Leave that for at least 2 hours. Be sure to add the lime skin in the bowl for added flavor.
Strain the contents into another container, be sure to give the grated ginger a good squeeze to get all than lovely ginger flavor out. You may need to double strain to make sure you don’t get chunks when enjoying a cold glass!
Add all the other ingredients and whisk to make sure the sugar dissolves. Do taste to ensure there’s enough sugar to your liking.
The carbonated water will add a lovely lightness to the ginger beer and the limes (yea I know I used a lot) will give it a rounded citrus twist! Remember we have rum in this so do keep that in mind when serving it this holiday season. If the one cup of rum is not enough (lush) you can always add more. I used white rum, but for additional flavor you can use a dark spiced rum. Vodka would also work well if rum is not your thing and remember you can also make this without the rum altogether!
The mixed essence can be found at West Indian markets, but you can also use a couple drops of vanilla if you can’t source it. Remember to chill before serving!