Posts Tagged ‘ginger’
1 gallon cold water
1 lb. white sugar
1/2 oz. race ginger
1 lemon, sliced
1 tea-cup homemade yeast (1 packet dry or 1 cake moist commercial yeast.)
1 gallon cold water, 1 lb. white sugar, 1/2 oz. race ginger, 1 sliced lemon, 1 tea-cup yeast. Let it stand all night to ferment; then pour it off without stirring, bottle it, and add 1 raisin to each bottle.
From The Economical Cook-Book by Elizabeth Nicholson, 1865.
Comment: Yes, unlike the modern product known as ginger beer or its relative ginger ale, this would seem to be genuine beer, as evidenced by the call for the addition of yeast. How alcoholic it would be is another question, since it ferments for only one night. Further fermentation might take place in the bottle, but that would seem unlikely to up the proof content by very much since the direction “do not stir” would leave the majority of the yeast behind. The intent may have been to just make the drink fizzy rather than to give it a kick.
Homemade beers of this sort were extremely common and consumed by everyone, including children. The usual explanation for this is that the water of the time was so polluted as to be a common source of disease, and therefore beer or wine, being made with boiled water or heated at some point in the process, was safer despite any alcohol content. This recipe however does not call for any heating at all. We admit to puzzlement. Perhaps it just tasted good.