Make Ginger Beer - The Victorian Way

In this video Mrs Crocombe shares how to make ginger beer which was very popular during Victorian times.

She includes the recipe and method so you can try making it yourself.

Duration/Time: 6:47

Mrs Crocombe's recipe for Ginger Beer was copied from The Field newspaper which was a field sports magazine first published in 1853 and is still going today.

Made by soaking ginger, lemon, bread and yeast in water, this Victorian ginger beer is a little insipid for modern tastes and far from the sweet varieties we enjoy in tin cans today.

But with the addition of a sweetener such as honey or a dash of sweet whisky, this is a beautifully light and refreshing summer drink.


(Makes 4 litres / 7 pt / 4 1/4 quarts)

  • 2–3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 slice of thick-cut bread
  • 4 litres / 7 pt / 4 1/4 quarts water
  • zest of 1 lemon, cut off without pith
  • 30 g/1 oz fresh ginger, chopped and bruised
  • 4 tsp fresh (compressed) yeast, or 2 tsp dried yeast


Heat the measured water and sugar until the sugar dissolves then add the ginger and lemon zest.

Allow to cool to room temperature and decant into a food-grade bucket or a large bowl.

Toast the bread. Mix the yeast with a little warm water to form a thick paste and spread this on the toast.

Add the toast to the ginger beer mixture. Cover and leave to stand at room temperature for 12–24 hours.

Strain the mixture through a fine sieve lined with kitchen paper or, better still, muslin or a jelly bag.

Decant into clip-top jars or bottles, which will allow any gas to escape if it gets a bit lively.

Leave for at least 4 days and up to a few months.


Be sure to use thick glass bottles with clip tops because the gas and pressure can cause thinner bottles to explode.