Spruce and Ginger Beer from Scratch

I want to share my latest cooky kitchen experiments: Homemade Spruce and Jamaican Ginger Beers. These 2 unique beverages are perfect for toasting a quirky store’s 10th birthday.

Don’t let the word beer throw you off, these are non-alcoholic but fizzy soft drinks. The idea for the Spruce beer was a light bulb moment after my Mastic Ice Cream post when I compared Mastic’s flavor to Spruce Beer…which apparently not a lot of people were familiar with. Yep I found an online recipe on the Daring Kitchens forum by Audax Artifex.

And yes I made my own extract. I went to my park and identified a Spruce. See I took a pic from my balcony to show you the conifer in question! How do you know you have a Spruce conifer? If the twig carries its needles singly and the actual needle has four sides and, thus, rolls easily between your fingers, it’s a Spruce. Pine needles cluster and Firs have 2 sided flat needles. This beer is not as overpowering as the fake flavored one you by in stores.

Ξ Spruce Beer Ξ

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of baker’s yeast, in powder form
  • 40 grams of outer twigs of spruce fir
  • 1 tablespoon of hops
  • a 2-litre soda bottle with a screw cap, thoroughly cleaned and completely dry inside

Directions

  1. Using a funnel, pour the sugar into the bottle and then pour in the yeast. The yeast must be ground for best result, I whizzed mine in a coffee grinder. If you skip this step your soft drink will be less bubbly. Shake bottle well to mix.
  2. Make you extract by bringing to a boil your spruce fir twigs and hops in 500ml of water and simmer to reduce until you have 1 tablespoon of extract remaining, if it is very sticky even better.
  3. Again with funnel, pour in beer extract and then fill bottle half full with water from tap.
  4. Remove funnel and swirl contents in bottle until the sugar has dissolved.
  5. Fill bottle with water until there is approximately a one inch gap at the top and screw cover on tightly.
  6. Let bottle sit at room temperature for 12 to 48 hours or until the bottle feels hard. The gas has expanded.
  7. Store in refrigerator and chill thoroughly. Loosen cap VERY VERY SLOWLY allow gas to escape and avoid liquid fizzing over.

 

Normal Ginger Ale makes me nauseous. I hate the stuff. Not sure if it is the taste or an associated memory of my mom giving me flat ginger ale when I was in bed for a week with a major flu. But one day I bought a can of Jamaican Ginger Beer, there was a rooster on the can. The very spicy and intense ginger taste totally caught me off guard, I was hooked. I found this recipe on The personal blog of Giles Paterson. It is fabulous, strain the ginger out if you like before serving but I like having a little bit in there to chew.

Ξ Jamaican Ginger Beer Ξ

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of baker’s yeast, in powder form
  • 1½ to 2 tablespoons of grated ginger
  • 1 lemon
  • a 2-litre soda bottle with a screw cap, thoroughly cleaned and completely dry inside

Directions

  1. Using a funnel, pour the sugar into the bottle and then pour in the yeast. The yeast must be ground for best result, I whizzed mine in a coffee grinder. If you skip this step your soft drink will be less bubbly. Shake bottle well to mix.
  2. Extract the juice from one lemon. Mix the grated ginger and lemon juice together in a cup.
  3. Again with funnel, pour in ginger/lemon mixture and then fill bottle half full with water from tap.
  4. Remove funnel and swirl contents in bottle until the sugar has dissolved.
  5. Fill bottle with water until there is approximately a one inch gap at the top and screw cover on tightly.
  6. Let bottle sit at room temperature for 12 to 48 hours or until the bottle feels hard. The gas has expanded.
  7. Store in refrigerator and chill thoroughly. Loosen cap VERY VERY SLOWLY allow gas to escape and avoid liquid fizzing over.

A few important notes for both recipes: a) if the pressure builds too much your bottle could explode. Place the bottle in the fridge overnight as this halts the yeast and stops the bottle exploding; b) you will notice that the basic procedures for making the sodas are identical so go ahead and experiment with flavors; c) no the ginger beer is neither radioactive nor does it glow in the dark as the pictures lead to believe; d) yes is will be carbonated almost like a soft drink…the natural way; e) until you really get the hang of opening it without making a huge mess….open your bottles outside. Trust me on this one !!!!!

Did you make one of my recipes? I would love to see it. Take a photo and tag me on Instagram @cultureatz.

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