How Not to Make Your Own Ginger Beer

There is a day devoted to the kitchen klutzes of America and it happens to be today, June 13th. I’m a little confused as to why this day is reserved only for those in America.  Does the rest of the world get a different day or are Americans just klutzier in the kitchen?  This celebratory compilation of televised culinary fails includes British chef Gordon Ramsay on The Ellen Show, so I guess it counts as long as it’s on American soil?

Aside from that time I set a dish towel on fire, I’ve largely avoided mishaps in the kitchen. But last night, on the eve of Kitchen Klutzes of America Day, I had a hilariously sticky reintroduction to the club.

I’m not sure if it’s related to my hair color, but I’ve always loved ginger.  (Sidenote: why is “ginger” a nickname for redheads, when ginger is not even close to being red?  Granted, I’ll take it over “carrot top” any day.)  Since it’s hard to find a ginger ale or even a ginger beer that’s more spice than sugar, and since I love DIY recipes, making my own ginger beer has been on my culinary bucket list for some time.

We’d been following a recipe from Imbibe magazine, but had to modify the finale due to our lack of a soda siphon. I happened to have some champagne yeast on hand, which was the alternative method. Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s recipe called for 25 granules for 16 ounces of liquid. My bottles were only 12 ounces, so I decided that should be about 18 granules of yeast.

Yeast granules are roughly the size of sand.  So 18 of them amounted to nothing.  We found a third recipe that, when scaled down, suggested we should use 1/12 of a teaspoon.  We probably used closer to 1/8. We shook it up, put it in a dark place, and dreamt of ginger beer that night.

The following evening my boyfriend took out the bottle, wondering aloud if we had added enough yeast.  He started to open it, and while some part of me wondered if this might be a bad idea, I didn’t have time to reflect on that before a spicy, sticky Old Faithful erupted in my kitchen.


The fountain of ginger beer had a radius of eight feet from the sink.  We cleaned ginger beer from the dining room table, from the ceiling, and from the floor to the left of the dog bowls all the way to the white double doors/bookshelves on the right.



I’ve scoured the web (there are a decent number of videos of ginger beer exploding), and the following is the closest to what it looked like, although I would say our geyser was a bit larger.

But at least the bottle did not spontaneously explode, which I’ve now read can happen, and no people or dogs were harmed in its making.  There was even a little bit left for us to try – and it was worth it.  Although next time, I’d like a larger yield.


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