Back during the 2012 Summer Olympics, my best girl friends and all their partners were up at a cottage on beautiful Georgian Bay. We took a break from dockside magazine reading, and lake swimming to watch Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt defend his Olympic Gold and cheer him on the most Jamaican way we knew how… with Dark N’ Stormies. Looking back, the Jamaican cocktail must have already been on our radar (why else would we have a bunch of ginger beer in the middle of Muskoka?), but it set the tone for an awesome night, and has made the drink an unofficial sign amongst us that good times are about to happen.
I had never really given much thought about the process of making ginger beer until I read this book. I became intrigued…. could I just do it at home? Turns out it’s super easy and I felt like a proud mama as I sat and watched the amber liquid grow and change into something delightfully bubbly and carbonated. The only draw back is it kind of makes a lot, which I don’t know if my liver or pancreas can handle. It reportedly keeps for one week if chilled, but I still feel like this is a lot for one girl to handle (I should probably call in the reinforcements of my besties!)
This weekend my husband and I are heading up north to celebrate the wedding of one of his good friends, who stood with us at our wedding, and while I hope it isn’t dark and stormy on their wedding day, I feel confident that by kicking the weekend off with this cocktail the weekend should be anything but.
Recipe adapted from here
- 4 Tbsp grated ginger (reserve as much of the juice as you can)
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice
- ⅛ tsp dry active yeast
- 7 cups of filtered water
- 2L plastic bottle
- In a medium sauce gently heat ginger, sugar and water (just ½ cup) until all the sugar is dissolved. Take off the heat and allow mixture to steep for at least an hour.
- When finished steeping, use a fine mess strainer to separate the ginger solids from the liquid.
- Using a funnel add the 7 cups of water to the 2L plastic bottle (you need the plastic as the mixture will expand as it carbonates), followed by the ginger syrup, lemon juice and yeast.
- Put the lid on the bottle and shake until yeast is dissolved. Store in a cool, shady place (out of direct sunlight) for 3 days until fizz is achieved.
- At this point you need to store in the refrigerator to prevent any further fermentation from taking place.
- To make Dark N’ Stormies add a shot of rum to a tumble with ice. Top with ginger beer and a slice of lime.