My mother and father in law had a cool Time Life series of cooking books. One is on beverages. In it, there is a recipe for Ginger Beer. I made it - and it is seriously tasty, crisp and fizzy!
I cut a fresh 1.5 ounce piece of ginger and peeled it. Then cut it very very thin. Then pressed it (your supposed to use a mortor and pestel - I just cut it way thin and pressed). Then you peel a lemon. You put the ginger and lemon peel in a bowl (I put them in a fermentation bucket) and add 1.5 cups of sugar. I added just a bit more ginger for good luck, and grated .5 ounces, rather than cutting and pressing.
You bring 4 quarts of water to a boil, and pour it over the ginger, lemon peel and sugar. I gave it a quick stir to dissolve the sugar. Then you juice the lemon and add that to the mix.
You let this cool down to lukewarm (I covered it). In a cup you mix 7 grams of yeast with 1/4 cup lukewarm water. I had an 11 ounce package of Nottingham yeast, and used about a half a packet. I followed the directions on the yeast packet to rehydrate it and made sure it was good.
When the mix was at a good temp, I added the yeast, popped the top on the fermentation bucket and put on the airlock.
You let it ferment for 12 hours, or overnight. I gave it a full 12 hours. Then you bottle it. I ran it through a very thin sieve. You should use cheesecloth - but I just ran it through a sieve, then used a filter in a funnel when bottling. You are supposed to let it sit for 48 hours - but I put up 10 bottles in glass and one bottle in plastic. Squeezing the plastic bottle let me know it was ready before the 48 hours were up (around 36 hours or so).
You pop it in the fridge to let the yeast settle. The book says you should drink it within three days, as it's flavor starts to go after three days. Well, it tastes really really good at about 8 hours in the fridge!
I opened the bottle and got a good aroma and a really nice fizz. An old family friend gave my wife and me some nice beer glasses (looks like they're from the 50's or 60's - we got them 28 years ago, and she had them for a long time before that! She was in her 60's when she gave them to us).
Anyway - nice aroma. Nice fizz. Nice taste. The foam brought a lot of the yeast up, but it settles back down again. This is the first time I fermented anything (other than just soda pop carbonation with yeast). Definately fun! That fermentation bucket is going to be put to some more use soon!