Thelma's mother used to make this ginger beer, and Thelma has agreed to pass the recipe along to those of us who aren't in the family. This is one of those drinks that's not hard to make but does require some prep and foresight. I, for one, am a huge fan of ginger beer, so I would like to thank both Thelma and her mother.
- Two 3-inch pieces fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 quarts plus 1 cup water, divided
- 1 cup sugar
- Lime wedges, to serve
1. Place ginger in a large saucepan and add 2 quarts of the water. Bring to a boil over high heat and then lower the heat to simmer until it is potent, at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours. Remove from the heat, cool completely, then pour into a clean jar or ceramic or other nonreactive container.
2. In a small pot, combine the sugar with 1 cup water and bring to a boil to make a simple syrup. Remove from the heat and let cool, then add it to the vessel with the ginger brew.
3. Place a lid over the vessel and allow to ferment at room temperature for 2-3 days, opening it once a day to release some of the gases, until it is bubbling and active.
4. Strain the ginger beer through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher. Serve during cocktail hour in champagne flutes with a lime garnish.