This is an extremely easy process and once mastered, can be customized endlessly with fruits, herbs, and other ingredients. If you want it medicated, infuse like you would any soda. The fermentation will create carbonation, so be sure to pay attention to the bottles, they will explode if you leave them forever.
3-4 inches grated ginger root
1 gallon of water (4 liters)
2 cups sugar (400g)
TIMEFRAME: 2 to 3 weeks
Prepare your starter: Add 2 teaspoons of grated ginger (skin and all) and 2 teaspoons of sugar to 1 cup of water. Stir well and leave in a warm spot, covered with a paper towel or coffee filter to allow free circulation of air while keeping out unwanted dust and flies. Each day add sugar and ginger and stir, until the bug starts bubbling, depending on your house temperature, it could take anywhere from 2 days to a week. Keep feeding until you decide to use it.
Once the starter becomes active. Boil 2 quarts of water. Add about 2-3 inches of ginger root and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Boil this mixture for about 15 minutes and then cool.
Once cooled, strain the ginger out and add the lemon juice and the strained ginger bug. Add enough water to fill the gallon.
Bottle it up. You can buy plastic bottles for home brewing that will withstand the carbonation, but I like to reuse swing top beer bottles like Grolsch bottles. They just have to be closed with the hand.
Ferment: Leave bottles to ferment in a warm spot for about 2 weeks. Feel free to test a bottle after the first week, just remember the bottles are pressurized.
Refrigerate. Homemade ginger beer will last just fine for a couple weeks in the fridge. Technically you can store it much longer, but be aware that the yeast will continue to ferment, leaving you with a different end product – much higher in alcohol and lower in sweetness. Also, remember that pressure will continue to build, so be careful with older bottles.
Joseph Cassini is a writer and designer for The Cannabis Cactus Magazine. He enjoys cooking, history, and smoking cannabis outside of the city.