Refreshing ginger beer recipe

Posted on 4 March 2022

It’s summertime and the weather is fine… Time to cool off with a refreshing ginger beer! Here’s how to make your own tasty ginger beer at home.

‘First you’ll need two litres of water, two tablespoons of Robertson’s ginger powder, two cups sugar, one teaspoon of cream of tartar, a handful of raisins, the skin of the pineapple, and finally a teaspoon of yeast.’ Mamma Swartbooi (or gogo, to me) from the township of Kayamandi near Stellensboch (‘a pleasurable home’, in Xhosa) was describing in detail the process of making gemmer (ginger beer), while we sat at Hartenberg Wine Estate in Stellenbosch. Meanwhile, I sipped on their Shiraz and my taste buds encountered heaven.

It’s ironic, I think to myself, that of all places, I learn about making this popular Xhosa drink in Afrikaans Stellenbosch. Then again, the town is one of South Africa’s purest sources of all things infinitely quaffable.


-2 litres water

-2 tbsp Robertson’s ginger powder

-2 cups sugar

-1 tsp cream of tartar

-Handful of raisins

-Skin of a pineapple

-1 tsp of yeast

Cooking instructions

-Melt the sugar with a little water.

-Simmer the ginger, raisins and the rest of the ingredients (except the yeast) for 20 minutes on a low heat.

-Allow the pot to cool for an hour or two, then add the yeast.

-Leave to stand for 10 to 12 hours.

-Taste the mixture and once you are satisfied, pour the gemmer into a bottle through a sieve. Serve chilled.


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