Made without yeast, the author's father's ginger beer is flat, not carbonated as the beverage usually is—but it's still wonderfully refreshing.
- 3⁄4 lb. fresh ginger, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
- 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1⁄4 tsp. ground mace
- 1 1⁄2 cups light brown sugar
- 1⁄2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 6 sprigs mint
Put ginger, lime juice, mace, and 1⁄2 cup of the sugar into a widemouthed gallon glass or ceramic jar. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into jar and add the pod. Add 12 cups boiling water to jar and stir until sugar dissolves. Set ginger mixture aside to steep and cool to room temperature. Cover jar tightly and refrigerate for 1 week.
Line a large sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth. Strain ginger mixture through sieve into another widemouthed gallon glass or ceramic jar, firmly pressing on solids with the back of a spoon to extract as much flavor as possible. Discard solids. Add the remaining sugar to ginger beer and stir until it dissolves. Serve in glasses over crushed ice, garnished with mint sprigs.