What you'll need:
3 or 4 large fresh ginger roots (not ground ginger)
Juice of two limes (or similar amount of lemon, pineapple, or grapefruit juice)
1 cup granulated sugar
A few whole cloves or a cinnamon stick (optional)
1). Carefully remove and discard the ginger root's outer layer. Pound the ginger root to a pulp and place in a large ovenproof glass mixing bowl or stainless steel container.
2). In a teakettle heat six cups of water to a boil. Pour water over the ginger, cover with a lid or a clean cloth. Put the mixture in a warm place. A sunny spot on a tabletop in front of a window is a good place on a hot day; an oven that has been slightly heated then turned off is a good place on a cold day. Wait one hour.
3). Place a clean cheesecloth or a paper towel in a strainer and pour the the mixture through it into a large jar or pitcher (or two jars or pitchers as necessary). Squeeze the cloth to extract all the liquid from the ginger root. Mix in the citrus juice, sugar, and spices. Fill the jar with lukewarm water to make a gallon. Return the mixture to a warm spot and wait another hour.
4). Strain the ginger beer once more and refrigerate until chilled. Serve over ice.
Makes 1 gallon Ginger Beer, approximately
If desired, serve with dishes from Western Africa.
Date: November 8, 2003