A Dark & Stormy cocktail made with fresh brewed ginger beer! I was pretty excited to make the ginger beer. This is new territory for me as I've never made wine or beer and haven't done that much fermenting in general. This recipe brought me to SF Brewcraft which is a local home brewing supply store here in San Francisco, entering the store I was filled with excitement with all the gadgets, bottles and smells in the air. Barrels of grains and hops, shelves of flavors, odd tubes and things only a home brewer would know about. The possibilities seemed endless. And the temptation to buy a home brew beer kit was overwhelming, but I really just wanted to start with the ginger beer, so I kept my focus and bought a couple yeasts as planned, Champagne yeast which was recommended for the recipe, and an Ale yeast which was recommended by others (aka: the guy at the counter at Brewcraft and commenters on the original recipe post Some say the Champagne yeast will keep active even after refrigeration.). But I wanted to stick with the recipe to start so this is the Champagne yeast version. I'll update later on how the Ale yeast works. The recipe is from Jeffrey Morgenthaler, a Portland mixologist, and there were a lot of satisfied commenters that had made this recipe, enough to convince me that this was the way to go. I had a bit of a bottle dilemma, Brewcraft only sold bottles by the case, too much for this small batch, and the selection at World Market was not great, I picked up a couple 32 oz bottles with clamp stoppers, but they seemed pretty flimsy once I tried to use them, I doubted they were air tight, so I ended up using mason jars.
You will need a lot of fresh ginger, I doubled the recipe below to yield 32 oz, and I used a fairly sizable chuck of ginger. 1 1/2 oz of ginger (peeled) will yield 1 oz of juice. This is the type of produce that's best bought in a Chinese or Korean market to get the best price, which I did, a pound for $2 is much better than your average grocery store price which will run 2-3 times that. And you will need a juicer, if you don't have a juicer, um, I'm not sure how to get around that, I noticed some people make this with dried ginger spice so that might be an option, but fresh is probably the best way to go. One of the commenters was able to juice the ginger by grating it, putting it in cheesecloth and then squeezing it with a hand juicer. The recipe also calls for "25 granules of champagne yeast", which is a rather impossible task, it's like counting stars, they are minuscule! I did a best rough estimate, but then later found a blogger who made this recipe and said that 1/8 teaspoon seems to work. Good to know for next time!
About the Dark & Stormy, if you've never had one and you like ginger, this is a must, we usually make it with Bundaberg ginger beer, which is a really good soda and probably more expensive than a soda should be, but not this weekend, the fresh brewed ginger beer awaits!
If you're unfamiliar with Ginger beer it is not really a beer in that it contains no alcohol and the process is much different. I think if it fermented longer it would indeed produce alcohol (I haven't researched much on that) but this Ginger Beer recipe is a non-alcohol one. So of course you make a Dark & Stormy by adding rum! We use Gosling's rum, it's a dark rum, hence the dark and stormy.
Results of the ginger beer? OMG delicious , however it wasn't as fizzy as I would've liked. Ginger beers aren't that fizzy in general, but this was too flat. It may have had to do with the tedious task of counting yeast granules, maybe I didn't add enough, or maybe it needs to sit longer. I uncapped this at the 55 hour mark so I'll see how it is after a day or two. I'm going to try this recipe with the Ale yeast as well, I'll either report back on this post or do a follow-up post with the results.
If any of you have experience making ginger beer I'd love to hear how it worked out. Just let me know in the comments section below. Thanks and onto the recipe to get your weekend spiced up!
Ginger Beer Brew
(adapted from Jeffrey Morgenthaler)
For 16 oz bottle
- 1 ounce ginger juice
- 2 ounces fresh lemon juice, finely strained
- 3 ounces simple syrup
- 10 ounces warm water
- 25 granules of champagne yeast (1/8 teaspoon)
Peel and juice ginger, 1 1/2 oz peeled ginger will yield 1 oz of juice. Squeeze lemon juice and finely strain. (for me it worked out to about 1 lemon per ounce of juice)
To make the simple syrup combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in saucepan, amounts will vary according to how much you need but it's a 50/50 ratio of sugar and water, bring to a boil and let simmer 2-3 minutes. Remove from stove and let cool.
Add all ingredients to bottle, Seal the cap securely, shake well, and store for 48 hours – no more, no less – in a warm, dark place. After 48 hours have passed, refrigerate immediately to halt the process.
Dark & Stormy Cocktail
- 2 oz Gosling’s Black Seal rum
- 5 oz ginger beer
Fill glass with ice, add rum then ginger beer, garnish with lime and serve immediately.