Many variations of the homemade ginger beers brewed all over sub-Saharan Africa. Fresh ginger makes a spicy drink, cooling in summer, warming in winter and always refreshing and energizing. Fruit juices other than the citrus called for below, such as pineapple, apricot or guava make interesting variations in the flavor. When using other fruits add the juice of a couple of limes or lemons. This recipe makes a concentrate that can be diluted with plain or sparkling water. Make a batch and try it!
6 cups boiling water
1 cup grated peeled fresh ginger root
1 cup sugar (I use less)
1 tsp. whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup fresh lime or lemon juice
1 cup orange juice
8 cups cool water
Pour the boiling water over the grated ginger root, sugar, cloves and cinnamon in a large pot or bowl . Cover and set aside in a warm place, in the sun if possible, for at least an hour.
Strain the liquid through a fine sieve or a cloth. Add the juices and water. Set aside in a warm place for another hour or so. Gently strain the liquid again, taking care not to disturb the sediment at the bottom. Store in the refrigerator in a large container. A glass gallon jar or jug works well.
Serve warm, chilled or on ice, either as is or diluted with water or sparkling water. A squeeze of fresh lime juice in each glass of ginger beer is great.