Having grown up in Soweto, when my parents would tell us there was a funeral or a wedding my heart would skip a beat in excitement, not for the dry as dust cakes they’d call “scones” nor the bland yellow rice and beetroot we’d be served. Nahhhh, my excitement was in anticipation of having gemmer (the Afrikaans for Ginger, most vernac speakers refer to it as gemere…with the last ‘e’ pronounced).
I soon discovered with time that no one quite had a recipe, the old mama’s in the kitchen, my folks, my gran, NO ONE. I assume just like how they make the dry scones people just guess quantities of ingredients. So after much fiddling, I’ve come up with the ratios and quantities. The raisins are added to absorb the alcohol that rises to the top as the yeast ferments. You’re meant to actually strain it once its done but I’ve never seen anyone do this. To prevent it fermenting further, place in a really cold fridge. Don’t worry about it becomeing alcoholic ginger beer…it takes 2 weeks minimum for this to happen.
3 litres cold water
3 litres hot water
3 cups sugar (you can add more if you want it sweeter)
3 teaspoons ginger powder (likewise for a hotter beer, add more)
Handful of raisins
Mix it all together in a bucket. Set aside at room temperature for at least a day (stir it every hour or so). Its best served after 3 days though.