Jamaican Ginger Beer is a sweet, spicy non-alcoholic Caribbean beverage, with a bold burst of fresh ginger flavour and a citrusy twist. This easy homemade ginger beer is a refreshing soft drink made for all ages so make a big batch for the whole family to enjoy with dinner or at your next social gathering.
Craving more authentic Jamaican drink recipes? Try the holiday favourite Jamaican Sorrel Drink Recipe, creamy Jamaican Guinness Punch and fresh Jamaican Carrot Juice.
Jamaican Ginger Beer
One sip of Jamaican ginger beer over ice will have you feeling refreshed and invigorated. If the ginger flavour isn’t strong, then you haven’t made it right! This traditional Jamaican soft drink is not carbonated or alcoholic, and sweetened to taste, so everyone can enjoy it during family get together’s and holidays.
Here’s Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Better Than Storebought Versions – this recipe includes a bubbly carbonated version like what you’ll find at the store but nothing tastes better than homemade ginger beer.
- Easy to Make – learning how to make ginger beer is a simple process, The hardest part is waiting for the ginger flavour to infuse the water.
- A Nutritious Drink – made with fresh Jamaican ginger and no artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup, this drink tastes amazing but it’s good for you too!
What is Jamaican Ginger Beer?
Ginger beer originated in England and was introduced to Jamaica during the 1700s. It contained a small amount of alcohol but most modern variations are nonalcoholic. Jamaican ginger is a root plant that grows all over the island so it’s found in many Jamaican recipes. It’s more pungent with a stronger flavour than Asian ginger.
Chunks of fresh ginger are combined with water to create a purée. Then it is added to boiling hot water and left to steep in a cool place. After that, you strain, sweeten and serve over ice.
Is Jamaican Ginger Beer Healthy?
The main ingredient in this recipe is ginger, a root plant with many health benefits.
Ginger Health Benefits
Ginger is so good for you. Luckily, it’s plentiful on the island. Here are some of the ways consuming ginger can benefit you:
- Boosts your immune system, making it perfect for the winter months when it’s easier to catch a cold or the flu.
- Can relieve nausea and morning sickness.
- Proven to treat bacterial infections as a natural antibiotic.
- Good for overall gut health including indigestion and relieving stomach aches.
- Has anti-inflammatory properties to reduce swelling and relieve arthritis symptoms.
Does Jamaican Ginger Beer have Alcohol?
Ginger beer is not actually beer but rather “ginger juice.” Authentic Jamaican ginger beer does not contain alcohol.
Why is Cream of Tartar Added to Ginger Beer?
Cream of tartar is often an added ingredient in ginger beer because it gives it a smoother consistency. It also helps any added sugar to dissolve and not recrystallize. However, it is not required here. Rinsed rice grains do the trick!
What’s Needed to Make This Recipe (Kitchen Tools and Equipment)
- Blender – to make the ginger purée.
- Large Pot – to boil the water.
- Strainer – to remove the ginger pulp.
Ingredients and Ingredient Notes
* MEASUREMENTS AND INSTRUCTIONS ARE LISTED IN THE RECIPE CARD NEAR THE BOTTOM OF PAGE *
- Fresh Ginger Root – peeled and chopped
- Water – the base of this beverage.
- Cloves – this adds a beautiful warmth and depth of flavour to the drink, but is completely optional.
- Rice – add one tablespoon of rinsed rice as it helps to extend the shelf life of the drink, as well as aid in the fermentation process of the ginger. It yields no flavour and will not impact the taste of the drink.
- Sugar – to sweeten. Use a combination of white granulated sugar, cane sugar or brown sugar.
- Fresh Lime Juice – for added citrus taste.
- Sparkling Water – optional, if not using use 10 cups fresh still water
How to Make Jamaican Ginger Beer
Make Ginger Purée
Thoroughly wash the ginger, then peel and chop into smaller pieces. Add the ginger pieces to a high-speed blender with 2 cups of water and pulse until the ginger has puréed.
Add Boiled Water and Rice
Next, bring 10 cups of water to a boil (12 cups if not using sparkling/carbonated water). Stir the ginger purée into the boiling water and remove from heat immediately. Add the cloves, rinsed rice and cover.
Steep Overnight in the Fridge
Allow the mixture to cool completely then place in the refrigerator to steep for 4 to 6 hours. For the best results, steep overnight.
Strain, Sweeten & Serve with Ice
Strain the steeped ginger beer using a fine strainer or cheesecloth then add the lime juice and sweeten to taste with the sugar. If using carbonated water, stir in 2 cups. Then chill and serve over ice.
How to Make Carbonated (Fizzy) Ginger Beer
Prepare ginger purée then bring 10 cups of water to a boil. Add the ginger puree to the boiling water then add in cloves and rice. Once it completely cools, place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
Then strain, sweeten, and add 2 cups of sparkling water or carbonated water to the mixture. Chill and serve over ice.
Recipe Substitutions and Tips
- Lemon or Lime – Instead of freshly squeezed lime juice, try lemon juice. It has a more tart taste and is less sweet.
- Add Fruit – for a fruity fusion twist, add pure pineapple juice or passionfruit juice.
- Natural Sweetener – use agave or maple syrup as a sweetener alternative to granulated sugar.
- Add Spices – some Jamaican ginger beer recipes include spices lives cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
- Cream of Tartar – for a smoother consistency and depth of flavour.
- Jamaican Ginger Beer Cocktail – add a shot of rum to glass of ginger beer over ice for a tasty adult beverage.
Serving Suggestions and Tips
Jamaican ginger beer pairs well with very seasoned food that is spicy, saucy, or both. Here are some serving suggestions:
- Bar-B-Fried (Barbie Fry) Chicken – this crunchy, mouthwatering and super satisfying bbq fried chicken is tossed in a homemade sweet-spicy Jamaican-style barbecue sauce.
- Jamaican Jerk Pork – tender, well marinated pork shoulder slow roasted then broiled for a crispy, flavourful meat entree.
- Jamaican Beef Patty – a classic Caribbean staple made with a flavoursome ground beef mixture that’s enclosed in a deliciously flaky, buttery, golden pastry crust.
Recipe Notes and Tips for the Best Jamaican Ginger Beer
- Once the drink sits, the ginger will settle. This is normal, stir before serving and pour over ice.
- Scrap off some of the ginger skin before puréeing because the skin has a bitter taste.
- For a less spicy drink, use less ginger.
- For the best results, serve Jamaican ginger beer chilled over ice.
Can I Make this Ahead of Time?
Absolutely! Make it up to 48 hours before serving.
Jamaican ginger beer is best served within 48 hours but it lasts up to one week in the fridge.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Traditional Jamaican ginger does not contain alcohol.
Jamaican ginger is more potent than other varieties of ginger so Jamaican ginger beer has a very strong, spicy flavour when compared to similar beverages from other countries.
Depending on the added ingredients, Jamaican ginger beer is a fairly healthy drink.
Do not throw away the pulp. Instead repurpose it for smoothies, add it to tea, dehydrate it for candy or compost it.
Interested in more Jamaican Recipes? Check These Out!
- Caribbean Chocolate Tea (Cocoa Tea)
- Jamaican Easter Bun
- Jamaican Bammy
- Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding
- Jamaican Sorrel Cocktail with Sorrel Simple Syrup
- Jamaican Guinness Punch
- Jamaican Black Cake
- How to Soak Fruit for Christmas Cake
Jamaican Ginger Beer
- Large Pot
- Cheesecloth Strainer
- 1 pound Fresh Ginger Root peeled and chopped
- 10 cups Water
- 1 tbsp Rice rinsed
- 3 whole Cloves
- 1/3 cup Fresh Lime Juice
- 1 cup Granulated White Sugar more or less to taste
- 1 cup Brown Sugar more or less to taste
- Rum optional, as desired
- 2 cups Sparkling Water optional, if not using use 10 cups fresh still water
- Thoroughly wash the ginger, then scrap off some of the skin and chop into smaller pieces. Add the ginger pieces to a high-speed blender with 2 cups of water and pulse until the ginger has puréed. Next, bring 10 cups of water to a boil (12 cups if not using sparkling/carbonated water).
- Stir the ginger purée into the boiling water and remove from heat immediately. Add the cloves, rinsed rice and cover. Allow the mixture to cool completely then place in refrigerator to steep for 4 to 6 hours. For best result, steep overnight.
- Strain the steeped ginger beer using a fine strainer then add the lime juice, rum (if using) and sweeten to taste with the sugar. If using carbonated water, stir in 2 cups. Then chill and serve over ice.
Note, the nutritional information is calculated using a nutrition facts calculator. It is a rough estimate and can vary based on products used.
OliveApril 22, 2023 at 3:27 pm
THIS RECIPE IS AUTHENTIC AND STRONG. THE REAL DEAL. it was so goos thank you for sharing.
Taneisha MorrisApril 25, 2023 at 7:10 pm
Yayy! Love this feedback – it really is the real deal!!
AndreaApril 29, 2023 at 11:16 am
This looks like it’s going to be deliciously spicy! But I’m wondering about adding the sugar to cold liquid, wouldn’t it dissolve better when it’s warm?
Taneisha MorrisMay 17, 2023 at 10:19 pm
It dissolved well and fairly quickly with no sugar crystals left behind so you will definitely be fine adding to the cold mixture!