Fiery Hot Ginger Beer (non-alcoholic soda)

 

Ginger is a common ingredient in my soda recipes. I love the spicy bite of ginger so much it’s hard for me to resist adding it. (Even if it has to be a minor component when it can’t be the star of the show, like my sparkling strawberry lemonade.)

But today I want to do something for the hot spicy spice fanatics – and that is to provide a simple recipe for ginger beer that gives you both the heat of ginger (primarily “gingerol”) and the heat of peppers (“capsaicinoids”).

Whether drunk straight up or as a mixer (I love Infused Spirits “Mango Habanero Vodka” but this is also great in a Dark & Stormy or with bourbon), you’re going to appreciate this soda! (At least, going in ;))

So with no further ado, let’s do this…

This recipe is for a one-liter bottle of ginger beer.

You will need:

Ingredients:

  • 3.5 cups filtered or distilled water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 50g ginger, grated
  • Hot pepper(s) of choice, stems removed & halved
  • 1/4 cup strained ginger bug culture

Note on peppers: People’s preferences and tolerances vary wildly; if you aren’t sure for yourself, I recommend starting with a couple jalapenos (red is hotter than green). If you know you can handle stronger, go for a couple serranos or scale up to a habanero or scotch bonnet (these are all commonly available grocery-store hot peppers). If you’re a true hot head, go with your super hots, I know you’ve got some!

Optional add-ons (here’s some other stuff I put in mine):

  • Juice of 2 clementines (if you don’t do this, add an additional 1/4 cup water to the recipe)
  • 1 tsp cloves, coarsely crushed by hand
  • Pinch of whole grains of paradise or allspice
  • Feel free to include another pepper (poke a hole in it with a toothpick) in the soda bottle for dramatic effect
For this batch I used one lonesome homegrown Amazon Chili, similar in heat level to a habanero

Directions:

1.) Rinse then grate the ginger. Combine it in the saucepan with the water, sugar, hot pepper(s), and any add-on spices (don’t add the clementine juice just yet).

2.) Bring the liquid to a boil, stirring periodically. As soon as it reaches a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

3.) After the allotted time, remove from heat, add the clementine juice, give a good stir, and return the cover to the pot. Allow to stand until it cools to room temperature (this is very important). To accelerate the cooling process, you can place the saucepan in the refrigerator.

4.) Once the wort (sweetened liquid) has cooled to room temp, strain it through the mesh strainer several times. Clean off the strainer of its debris each time. The liquid should now be free of all visible solids and pulps.

5.) Strain the 1/4 cup ginger bug culture so there is only liquid. Then transfer the liquid culture to the fliptop bottle using the bottling funnel.

6.) Now transfer the wort to the bottle using the bottling funnel. Leave around 3″ headspace between the bottle’s mouth and the liquid. (Recommended to pour the wort from a spouted container or measuring cup.) There may be some excess wort (which you can promptly enjoy).

7.) Seal the bottle and allow to stand at room temperature for three days. (As I write this a freeze around the US is brewing so I suggest finding a relatively warm location if possible.)

8.) Transfer to the fridge and allow to stand overnight. The soda will then be ready at any point.

Enjoy!

Did you make an excruciatingly hot version or put your own awesome twist on it? Post your creations on our Insane Facebook group.

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