Whisky Cocktails

Homemade Ginger Beer, and a Whisky Cocktail Recipe


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I was recently invited around a couple of friends of mine who happen to be very talented in the kitchen. They enjoy making stuff from scratch, and have been known to make some absolutely delicious sourdough bread and elderflower cordial. This time they’d been watching River Cottage, and Hugh (the presenter) had shared a recipe for homemade ginger beer. Now, I absolutely love ginger beer, and this was some of the best ginger beer I’ve had in a good old while! I also enjoy making a ginger beer and whisky cocktail, particularly in the summer as it’s very refreshing, but to do so you need good quality ginger beer. Armed with their, or rather Hugh’s, recipe, I decided to make some of my own, and whip up the whisky cocktail.

First of all you will need to make the ginger beer. Buying the ingredients is cheap (you’ll need to spend perhaps $6 on the basic stuff for your first 2 liters, and after that it gets cheaper – probably about $1.25 per 2 liters). You will need:

  • ¼tsp of Champagne yeast
  • 1cup of Caster sugar
  • 2tsp of finely grated fresh root ginger
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 1tbsp of honey
  • A 2 liter plastic bottle (e.g. coke or lemonade bottle)
  • Sterilising tablets/powder

And here’s how you make it:

  1. Rinse and sterilize your bottle following the instructions given on the sterilizing tablets/powder container (you can get this, and the yeast, either online or at your local brewery shop – they cost about $2-3. The sterilizing stuff will last you several batches, and so will the yeast – though once opened you need to use it straight away or somehow reseal it).
  2. Mix together the grated ginger, lemon juice and honey and funnel it into the bottle.
  3. Add water (ideally bottled rather than tap – I couldn’t tell you why it’s better, and I haven’t tried using tap myself, but apparently it may not work at all as well) until the bottle is ¾ full.
  4. Screw the cap on and shake the bottle until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  5. Top the bottle up with water, leaving a cap of about an inch at the top to allow for the production of gas. Ensure that the cap is screwed on tightly, and then place the bottle somewhere warm.
  6. Once the bottle feels very hard and has no give in it, which should be after about 48 hours, pop it in the fridge to stop the yeast working. Allow to chill thoroughly then pass it through a fine sieve before serving.

And there you have it – the prep time is about 10-15 minutes and then all you have to do is wait patiently for two days. Make sure to check in on the bottle every once in a while though, as they have been known to explode and as such you may have to release a bit of gas.

Now, the cocktail recipe is, if possible, even simpler:

  • 16oz whisky (as always, don’t waste the good stuff here)
  • About 5-6oz Ginger beer
  • Juice of ½ lime, freshly squeezed
  • An optional dash of Angostura if you have some
  • Ice to your liking, I normally pop in 3-4 cubes
  • A big old glass

Simply mix the above together in whichever order you prefer, I don’t find that it makes a heck of a lot of difference, and enjoy our in the sun.

About Whisky Critic

My name is Martin and I live in Scotland. I love fine things in life, such as gourmet food, travelling around the world and, last but not least, whisky (naturally, I’m partial to a tipple of whiskey or bourbon as well). I have tasted hundreds of whiskies during the recent years and I finally decided to share my experience.

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