Happy Friday! Friday evening seems like the perfect time to share a cocktail recipe that I came up with. Recently I tried a recipe for Jamaican ginger beer from the book Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It. It’s super delicious but also super spicy, so much so that if I’m drinking it straight up I can only sip a little at a time. It’s also fantastic diluted in seltzer water, though, or mixed with rum. Before you get to the cocktail, you’ve got to make up a batch of the ginger beer. Despite the rather misleading name, it’s neither carbonated nor alcoholic, so this recipe is pretty straightforward and doesn’t involve any brewing or fermenting. It does take a lot of ginger, though. I’m willing to bet that 2 1/2 lbs is way more ginger than most people have ever bought.
The only thing I changed from the original recipe is the amount of sugar. It calls for 2 1/2 to 3 cups, and I can’t imagine drinking it that sweet. I made mine with 1 1/2 cups of sugar the first time I made it, and only 1 cup the second time, so I’d advise you to start with less and sweeten as you see fit.
Jamaican Ginger Beer
(Adapted slightly from Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon)
2 1/2 pounds fresh ginger, roughly peeled
4 cups water, divided
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from 8 to 10 limes)
1 to 1 1/2 cups of sugar
In a blender or food processor, liquefy the ginger and 2 cups of the water for 3 minutes, then strain the juice into a large bowl or pitcher. Transfer the ginger pulp back to to the blender or food processor, add another cup of the water, and liquefy again. Strain again, adding the liquid to the first batch. Again transfer the pulp along with another cup of water, liquefy again, and add to the liquid. Press on the solids as much as possible to squeeze out as much of the juice as you can.
Once the ginger has given up all that it’s got, discard the mashed solids. Add the lime juice and 2 1/2 cups of the sugar. Mix well and taste. Add more sugar, a little at a time, until it reaches your preferred sweetness.
Refrigerate up to 3 weeks. Shake before serving.
Makes about 8 cups.
Now that you’ve got your Ginger Beer, you need yourself a little drink, right? Don’t worry, this recipe is super simple. (And it’s delicious even without the alcohol–I’m drinking it that way right now.)
Ginger Lime Pomegranate Cocktail
(aka the Joan Harris)
1 1/2 oz vodka
2 oz ginger beer
3 oz pomegranate soda
2 oz soda water
Lime garnish (optional)
Combine the liquids in a glass and stir with a spoon. Add a lime garnish.
After I came up with this combination I was trying to give it a name, since “Ginger Lime Pomegranate Cocktail” is kind of a mouthful. It’s similar to a Moscow Mule, only with the addition of the red pomegranate, so I briefly considered calling it a “Menstruating Mule” before deciding that was way too unappetizing. “Sassy Redhead” was suggested on Twitter, but we had been watching Mad Men at the time, so I decided to call it a “Joan Harris” in honor of Christina Hendricks’ character on the show. If you make it with gin instead of vodka it’s a “Joan Halloway.”
Drink up, and have a great weekend!