Making wine has become something of a hobby of mine. It’s a kind of alchemy, the taking of raw natural ingredients and combining to create something new, something delicious and also so very, very strong. Absolute magic!
Whilst these wines are indeed rustic and not as refined as something you might spend top dollar on, they are great to make at home and they don’t taste too shoddy either. And ginger wine is an absolute favourite of mine!
As you can see, the main ingredients are cupboard staples, things that most of us either have at home anyway or can be bought very cheaply from your local shop (the ginger in the picture cost me 20p – it was reduced but still in top condition).
A quick word about yeast – as you can see, I just use a bakers yeast. You can buy wine making yeast but when I have used it in the past I honestly couldn’t tell any difference at all.
* Just a quick note before I begin: I very rarely measure anything when it comes to wine making (sorry!).
Usually the quantities of fruit dictate how much liquid and sugar will be used.
Peel the ginger (scrape the skin away using the edge of a teaspoon) and cut into small pieces.
Fill a pan with water (around 3 litres – you can always add more if needed) and bring it to boil, then add the ginger and simmer for around twenty minutes.
Allow to cool, but not completely and add the sugar (I use around a kilo and a half per 3 / 4 litres of liquid) and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Pour the mixture into a demijohn (these can cost around £7 pounds when bought from shops however I picked mine up for a pound a piece from a carboot sale. You can also check out second hand shops and flea markets). Add a sachet of yeast and seal with an airlock – please don’t skip the airlock, these can be bought very cheaply and allows gas to escape whilst keeping debris out.
Soon the mixture will begin to froth and you’ll see the water in the airlock begin to bubble and this means fermentation has begun! It could take weeks and weeks, but when it finally stops bubbling, siphon off into a clean demijohn, letting the liquid settle for a week or two. Repeat this a few times until you are left with a clear wine with no sediment. Bottle up and leave to mature (if you can!).
With homemade wines, you have little control over how strong they will turn out. If it’s a little stronger than you prefer, you can make a lovely cocktail with homemade lemonade (you can buy lemonade, but making it yourself is so, so easy and tastes so much better!), ginger wine and frozen berries. These wines are perfect to use in ritual and as offerings.
Happy wine making folks!