from: Western Africa
Home-made non-alcoholic ginger drinks are common throughout much of Africa, especially Western Afican. In Central Africa, West African shopkeepers often sell their homemade ginger drink, sometimes in recycled vegetable-oil bottles. These ginger drinks are much stronger than any ginger ale soda. They can be enjoyed chilled over ice, or diluted with cold water.
What you need
- three or four large fresh ginger roots (not ground ginger)
- juice of two limes (or similar amount of lemon, pineapple, or grapefruit juice)
- one cup sugar
- a few whole cloves or a cinnamon stick (optional)
What you do
- Carefully remove and discard the ginger root's outer layer. Pound the ginger root to a pulp and place in a large ovenproof glass mixing bowl or stainless steel container.
- In a teakettle heat six cups of water to a boil. Pour water over the ginger, cover with a lid or a clean cloth. Put the mixture in a warm place. A sunny spot on a tabletop in front of a window is a good place on a hot day; an oven that has been slightly heated then turned off is a good place on a cold day. Wait one hour.
- Place a clean cheesecloth or a paper towel in a strainer and pour the the mixture through it into a large jar or pitcher (or two jars or pitchers as necessary). Squeeze the cloth to extract all the liquid from the ginger root. Mix in the citrus juice, sugar, and spices. Fill the jar with lukewarm water to make a gallon. Return the mixture to a warm spot and wait another hour.
- Strain the ginger beer once more and refrigerate until chilled. Serve over ice.
- Serve with dishes from Western Africa.
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