Ginger makes a lovely wine, warming to the heart and soul in the depths of the cold seasons! It also helps settle the tummy, so makes an excellent after-dinner tipple.
Ginger is such a wonderful spice, and one of my favorites. It’s a great healer, and its heat is just so enjoyable! I’ve never been able to find a ginger beer strong enough for me at the store, so it must fall to me to make my own.
While there are great ways to make non-alcoholic ginger beers and sodas, I’m not proficient at those and so my ginger brews are boozy. This warming wine is a lovely after-dinner tipple, but it also works well to settle the tummy or soothe the throat when you have a cold. Try it warmed with a bit of honey in it, like a mulled wine!
Ginger Wine Recipe
- Fresh ginger root (I used a whole palm, about 10 inches worth, but I like my ginger drinks hot. If you want it milder, use 5 inches.)
- 4 cups of sugar (brown sugar is best)
- Sliced orange
- 1/8 cup (small handful) of raisins, chopped
- 1 teaspoon of brewing yeast
- 1 gallon of non-chlorinated water
The first step to brewing ginger wine is to make an infusion (a fancy word for ginger tea).
Grab a large stock pot and bring about a quarter gallon of water to a simmer.
Chop the ginger into thin slices and add it to the water. The smaller your ginger pieces, the more gingery your flavor will be. I only bother peeling the ginger if the skin is particularly hard and woody.
Allow the ginger tea to simmer for at least 15 minutes to draw out all of the ginger flavors, but I’ve gone up to an hour. Add more water if needed. The steam from this pot will smell lovely, and the ginger will turn the water a nice brown.
Add the sliced orange to the pot, peel and all. Turn off the heat and add the raisins, and give it all a good stir. Let it sit for another 10-15 minutes with the lid on.
Stir in the brown sugar until it is completely dissolved. Cover the pot and let it cool a bit while you sanitize your gallon jug, funnel, strainer, airlock, and bung. (Don’t know what those are? Click here.)
Once the pot is cool enough to handle and the liquid safe to pour, strain the ginger tea and discard or compost the ginger, orange peel, and raisins. Pour the tea into the carboy and top it off with cool water until the liquid reaches the neck of the jug. Add the bung and airlock.
When the carboy is cool enough to touch (a few hours later), sprinkle in the packet of yeast and carefully give the whole jug a good shake. Within a day or two, the jug should be bubbling merrily. It should be happy to sit and bubble for a month or so.
When the bubbles stop and the liquid is clear, it is time to taste, backsweeten, or bottle! (Learn more about those processes on my Brewing page)
This recipe results in a very gingery, dry wine. I bottled much of it in beer bottles and the rest in swing-top bottles. Even with the alcohol content, these are very effective tummy relievers if you are feeling nauseous. It is delightful mulled with apple juice and a stick of cinnamon!
I’ve made this recipe a few times, and here are some tasty variations:
- I didn’t include orange, and also added a handful of oats and dried hops during the boil. This gave a slightly thicker, more bitter, slightly beer-like quality to the brew.
- In another batch, I added a few chopped apples instead of raisins, as well as a light drizzle of molasses.
- Replace the sugar with honey – 3-4 cups should do the trick!