Here's how I made it.
1. I took a large piece of fresh ginger, about 4-5 inches long and the width of my palm, rinsed it off and left the skin on. I tossed it in the food processor and minced it pretty finely.
2. Then I put it in a large pot on the stove with 2 cups of washed raw sugar and 2 cups of distilled water and made a nice syrup out of it.
3. I let it cool and strained out the solids, added the remainder of the gallon of distilled water and the juice from one lemon. So far, I've followed the recipe pretty closely. But after tasting the mixture I decided that the ginger flavor was way too week. I like a strong ginger beer.
4. So I put everything back into the pot, brought it to a simmer and let it steep for a while. Then, I cooled it again. It took way longer this time, probably 2-3 hours.
5. Once it was cool enough (less than 110 F), I poured it into the gallon container (the one the distilled water came in) and added the juice of another lemon and 1/8 of a teaspoon of regular baking yeast.
6. Then I shook it like crazy to make sure that every bottle would have some yeast in it. Most recipes I found say to use 2 liter soda bottles, but the hubby and I can never finish one before it goes flat, so I opted to 1/2 liter water bottles. I filled them with a funnel, leaving about an inch of head space, and put the tops on tightly.
7. I put the bottles in a dark spot. The recipe says a warm dark place. It's been really warm here so I'd guess that the soda was around 80 F while it was carbonating.
8. I let it do it's thing and checked it every few hours. Probably about every 4 hours. You know it's done when you squeeze a bottle and it feels hard, like a soda bottle from the store.
9. Mine carbonated for about 24 hours. In retrospect, I think I should have left it longer but I was going to bed and I was afraid of the bottles exploding during the night. Yes, exploding! Apparently if you let them go too long, the pressure will cause the bottles to explode. Yikes! I guess glass bottles are a bad idea.
10. Once the carbonation was done, I put them in the fridge to stop the yeast.
11. Time to taste it! I poured mine into a glass and left the yeast in the bottom of the bottle. You'll be able to see it on the bottom, it looks like a bit of light colored mud.
It was surprisingly easy to make and I'm pretty happy with the way it came out. As I said before, I would like it to have a little more carbonation, but it's very drinkable the way it is. I'll definitely do it again. I wonder if I can make other flavors. Like with fruit juice? Or would it go bad. Hmmm... What do you think?