This should be your project for the week. You can start it on Thursday night or Friday morning, and it'll be ready in time for you to make a fancy cocktail to enjoy while you watch Mad Men on Sunday.
You can google cocktails that use ginger beer, if you want. The first two that come to mind are a Dark & Stormy and a Moscow Mule. Or, you could do what I do, and just make something up. I think it's also delicious with lemonade.
(Side note: isn't it weird how google-ing something is a verb now? You don't say "oh, you should look that up on the interwebs and find the answer." No, sir. Don't know the answer? "Google it." Even if you are one of those weird people who doesn't actually use Google as your search engine.)
This ginger beer is crazy easy to make. It probably takes about half an hour to put everything together, and then you just let it do its thing for a couple of days.
Essentially, I just followed this recipe. A few notes, though:
- Ginger beer is not non-alcoholic. The alcohol content is very minimal, but alcohol is still a byproduct of the yeast fermenting.
- I didn't need to use cheesecloth to squeeze the ginger -- I pretty much just grabbed a handful from the food processor and squeezed it. Worked fine.
- I used a combination of fresh lemon juice and fresh orange juice, instead of just lemon. It was delicious, but I can't say that it tastes much different than it would with just lemon juice.
- Champagne yeast can be found at your local beer/wine making supply store, or on Amazon. Same with the bottles. If you're a Chicagoan, check out Brew Camp. They are fantastic, knowledgeable, and totally made me feel welcome, despite the fact that I had no real idea what I was looking for.
- Use caution when opening your ginger beer for the first time. It's kind of like opening champagne. Don't shoot your eye out.