Homebrewed Ginger Beer, An Alternative 4th of July Drink

ginger beer by Linda Shiue

I am daydreaming of those lazy summers of my youth, where bicycle trips to the local library would reward me with global adventures, if only in my imagination.  I was in 5th grade when I stumbled upon a tattered paperback copy of  Five Fall Into Adventure, one of the volumes in the expansive Famous Fiveseries by British children’s author Enid Blyton.  I may have been a shy and bookish girly girl reading in a pleather armchair in the basement of our Long Island home, but when I opened Five Fall Into Adventure, I was Georgina, the brave tomboy heroine my age, always on a quest for adventure (of course).  Georgina, or George, as she insisted upon being addressed, spent her summers pedaling the English countryside with her cousins.  It’s been decades since I read the book, but I haven’t forgotten the images of them taking rather civilized breaks from their sometimes dangerous dallyings to have a proper picnic of homemade sandwiches washed down with ginger beer.  Beer? thought my incredulous 10 year old American mind– kids drinking beer? It took me many years and a trip to the Caribbean to understand that ginger beer is a strong brew, but a non-alcoholic one.

So if you’re looking for a refreshing cold drink for the 4th of July and want something a little more adventurous than the standard icy cold beer, have some ginger beer.  Celebrate Independence with this non-alcoholic beverage enjoyed in the (other) former British colonies in the Caribbean.  It has an intense zing, much more potent than ginger ale.  Cheers!

Homebrewed Ginger Beer


1 pound fresh ginger

1 lime

4 pints water

granulated white sugar, 1 to 2 pounds (to taste)

4 pints sparkling water


1. peel and grate the ginger root

2.  juice the lime, and reserve the peel

3.  place the above ingredients into a large jar with the water

4.  place the jar in the sun for an entire day

5. strain out solids, and sweeten the liquid to taste

6.  allow to settle in the refrigerator for 2 days

7.  add sparkling water to taste or desired fizziness

Recipe adapted from Naparima Girls’ high School Diamond Jubilee 1912-1987: Trinidad and Tobago Recipes, © 1988 Naparima Girls’ High School, San Fernando, Trinidad.


Tired of the same old burgers and hot dogs? Here are a few twists to help you celebrate the 4th of July in style:

Silk Road Lamb Burgers
Gyro Lamb Hot Dogs

© 2011 Linda Shiue

One response

  1. Pingback: GINGER BEER | Suburbhomestead's Blog

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