A jar and lid which is big enough to contain the plant a (large mayonnaise jar is perfect for this)
a pint-sized measuring jug
Several clean and dry two-litre plastic bottles. (if you cant find any, your local supermarket usually has tap water in large bottles for about 10p, which in a way is also pretty handy, because you can use the water later)
A large pan ( the larger the better)
A fine cloth for straining the plant (The weapon of choice is Muslin, but my friend who passed this recipe to me has used terry nappies in the past.....so basically anything will do.)
Dried ginger powder
Sugar, the type of sugar you use will affect the final taste, in the batch I made I used a raw demerara, which produced a subtle caramel effect.
Juice of four lemons
Making the Plant
The plant is a mixture of dried ginger, yeast, sugar and water. This creates a yeast culture.
In the jar, place one teaspoon of dried yeast, two teaspoons of dried ginger, four teaspoons of sugar and a pint (600ml) of cold water.
Stir and keep at room temperature.
Feed the plant every day with two teaspoons of dried ginger and four teaspoons of sugar. Stir after feeding. ( it is that easy
The plant will be ready after one week.
Making the Ginger Ale
Place 1kg (2lb) of sugar and two pints of boiling water in the large pan. The sugar will dissolve.
Add the juice of the four lemons to the pan.
Strain the contents of the jar - the plant - through the cloth into the pan.( See below for what is to be done with the solid portion of the plant.) Trust me you need to seriously resist the temptation to try the sediment, it is definitely YAK material
Add 14 pints of room temperature water. ( if your pan wont take 14 pints, then you need to do a bit of maths, and split the mixture, this is where the bottled tap water comes in handy, it makes for easy calculation)
Stir the mixture and transfer to the bottle. Fill the bottles about seven-eighths full as you need to allow for expansion.(I cannot stress how important this bit is)
Squeeze the air out of the bottles to stop them exploding under pressure from their contents.( and this is pretty important toooo)
Store the bottles in a safe place at room temperature, and leave for three to four weeks to 'brew'.
Discard half of the solid from the plant or give it to someone so they may start their own. (yeh but dont forget to tell them where you got the recipe )
Place the remaining half in a clean jar with a pint of water and continue to feed as above. and start the whole process over again.
My own results were surprisingly very good, although I did shake a bottle out of curiosity and then opened it about 10 mins later ....KABOOOOOOM all over the place,
I have since learnt that, if you open the bottle really, really slowly and let the gas ease itself out you have set yourself up for a damn fine drink.
I have this recipe on email as well. so if you want to have a try, email.... firstname.lastname@example.org
The next batch I make I might cut down slightly on the sugar, but increase the ginger by a milli -smidge, and when I get brave enough I will start adding other spices like cinammon and cayene pepper to get that firery throat that a good ginger ale should posess