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The principles of ginger beer lacto-fermentation are covered in a step-by-step tutorial. Danny also discusses how this same process can be adapted to make other delicious non-alcoholic sodas for the whole family. He finishes by showing how to use your favorite spirit and homemade ginger beer to make a delicious, refreshing cocktail.

Danny Childs is a mixologist at The Farm and Fisherman Tavern in New Jersey and a cocktail columnist for Edible Jersey. He is a member of the Slow Food Northeast/New England Ark of Taste Committee as well as the Chef’s Alliance. He approaches cocktails through an anthropological lens, reimagining historical and regionally linked drinks using hyperlocal and seasonal ingredients. Follow Danny on Instagram at @slowdrinks for much more cocktail inspiration. If you’re looking to get some cocktail content on your bookshelves, Danny recommends:

Recipes by Danny Childs

Ginger Bug

Day 1

  • ½ cup of grated ginger (organic ginger is preferable if you can find it)
  • 1 ¼ cups of simple syrup*
  • 1 ½ cups of water

Add all ingredients to a food-safe container, stir to incorporate and cover with a loose-fitting lid or cheesecloth. Store at room temp (between 65 and 70 degrees)

*simple syrup preparation

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups boiling water

Add the water to the sugar and stir until it is dissolved. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. 

Days 2 & 3 & 4*

  • ¼ cup grated ginger
  • ½ cup simple syrup

Stir to incorporate ingredients

*By day 4, you should start to see signs of microbial activity. It should bubble when you stir it, smell mildly alcoholic.

Day 5 and beyond*

  • ¼ cup grated ginger
  • ½ cup simple syrup

*Should be active by now and ready to be stored. Feed 1-2 times per week with the same amounts of ginger and simple syrup.


Ginger Beer

Primary Fermentation

  • 3 quarts lukewarm water
  • 3 ¾ cups simple syrup
  • 2 ½ cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ¼ cup freshly grated ginger
  • ½ cup active ginger bug starter

Add all ingredients to a food-safe container and stir to incorporate. Allow to ferment for ~2 days at room temperature.

Secondary Fermentation

Add strained ginger beer into bottles and add 1 teaspoon/cup or 1 tablespoon per 24 oz.
Shake the bottle vigorously and allow it to ferment at room temperature for 1-2 days. Once carbonated, store in the fridge and drink within a few weeks.


Cocktail Recipes

Cocktail #1 — Quarantini

  • 2 oz. spirit of your choice
  • ¾-1 oz. simple syrup
  • ¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
  • Three muddled slices of ginger
  • Candied ginger garnish

Shake vigorously for 10 seconds, double strain either into a coupe or over ice. Garnish.

*Optional: Add a little bit of club soda for a more fizzy “ginger beer” style cocktail.

Cocktail #2Mule or Buck

  • 2 oz. spirit of your choice
  • Ginger Beer
  • Fresh or dehydrated lime

Build in a tall Collins glass over ice. Stir to incorporate. Garnish.


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