Bradley’s Ginger Beer
Makes about 13 cups / Ginger beer is prevalent in Grenada and the West Indies alike, according to Bradley Taylor, the innovative Canadian-Grenadian chef-owner of DeSoleil restaurant on Grand Anse Beach. “People drink it for many reasons,” he says. “It’s generally referred to as a tonic good for stomach ailments, and it’s also essential in treating a cold.” Use clean soda bottles with screw-on tops.
Grenada’s ginger is wonderfully pungent yet subtle. For ginger beer, fresh ginger is grated and pressed in liquid to extract its juice. “I also keep the gratings and pulp and spread it on a sheet pan to dry in a hot oven for a few minutes,” says Taylor. “It can then be powdered or chopped and blended into recipes for added flavor. It also makes a great garnish, especially when it is crispy.”
1 pound fresh ginger, peeled
2 cups lukewarm water
1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water (95º-100º)
2 1/4 cups sugar
12 cups hot water (120º-125º)
2 cups ginger extract
1. For the ginger extract: Grate fresh, peeled ginger into a mixing bowl, using the finer side of the grater (or use a food processor with grater attachment). Add 2 cups lukewarm water and stir mixture for 1-2 minutes, then allow to settle for 5 minutes. Stir again before straining through a fine sieve, catching all liquid in a bowl. Collect pulp in your hands or cheesecloth and squeeze thoroughly, being careful to catch all the liquid. The better the squeeze, the stronger the flavor. Stir and measure out 2 cups.
2. In a small bowl, combine yeast with 3/4 cups lukewarm water and stir just enough to moisten. Set aside for 10 minutes, uncovered.
3. Combine sugar and hot water in a large, nonreactive bowl or pot. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved and water appears clear. Stir in ginger extract. Add yeast mixture and combine thoroughly.
4. Using a funnel, transfer liquid to soda bottles, leaving at least 1 inch at the top of each bottle. Cap bottles tightly and stand them upright in a warm place for 5-6 days, until soda is effervescent. Refrigerate before serving.