Homemade ginger wine is a light and refreshing drink for celebrations or regular days in. Using ginger root we make this spicy wine in 2 weeks and add a few optional ingredients for different flavors.
As an East Indian, making wine at home is a skill handed down from generation to generation. Using old ceramic jars that we call barnis, the ginger wine is made through a simple but regular process of stirring and straining over a two week period. The wine can be made in a shorter time frame, say 3 to 5 days. But to get the extra kick, we let it ferment longer.
Also, we don’t use citric acid, or campden tablets, or acid blends, or hydrometers or any other modern equipment. The wine tastes a lot better when it’s made the way our ancestors did, maybe even the way people in Jesus time did. Natural homemade ginger wine! Or not, maybe he just has natural grape or raisin wine. 😉
This ginger wine is a version of the East Indian wine that I’ve modified to lessen the sugar while maintaining the strength.
What do you need to make ginger wine at home?
Ginger root of course! And some sultanas or raisins, yeast, lemon juice, sugar and water. We also add optional flavors at different times – lemon skins, orange zest, or dried chillies.
Steps to Make Homemade Ginger Wine
Please make sure it is legal to make homemade wine in your city or state before you try out this recipe.
Start by sterilizing your equipment – ceramic jars, demijohns, wooden spoons, etc – by washing them with boiling hot water.
Next, wash and clean the ginger. Then bruise it well with a pestle and add it to the demijohn or ceramic jar along with the lemon juice.
Cover the ginger with your sugar and raisins / sultanas. It doesn’t make a difference if you use raisins or sultanas. Both are good yeast nutrients and help you make a stronger wine. The only difference will be in the color of the wine you make. You’ll find a pic later in the post where we’ve made wine using only sultanas. It’s a darkish brown. But if you use raisins you’ll end up with a bottle of clear sparkling ginger wine. You can also skip the raisins or sultanas altogether, but then you’d have a wine that’s only about 3% to 5% strong.
Next, set aside about 100 ml of water to proof the yeast. Top up the ceramic jar with the rest of the water to make 4.4 litres. Proof the yeast with the 100 ml of lukewarm water add it to the barni (ceramic jar).
Alternatively, if you’re sure the yeast is active, you can just top up the jar to 4.5 litres of water and throw in the yeast. There’s no need to proof it. I’ve found that SAF Levure and DCL yeast are those type of yeast, so I use these quite often.
Use a wooden spoon, stainless steel spoon, or food grade plastic spoon to stir the must every day for the first week.
In this version, we used lemon skins for a light fruity flavor. At other times, we’ve used orange skins or dried kashmiri chillies. You can see that on the second day the must was fizzing wildly. I had taken a video to share, but all I could hear in it was the family talking about mustard chicken in the background. So no sharing this time. I’ll try to make another video the next time we make a batch of wine.
After stirring the wine for 7 days, leave it alone for 7 more days. Then strain the wine through a muslin cloth and bottle the wine. Wait for a few weeks before you drink the wine. If you can’t wait, the wine is perfectly good to drink immediately too! Go ahead and have a taste!
This pic above is of the ginger wine we made using only sultanas. You can see the earthy brown color.
The pics below are of the ginger wine we made using raisins that was racked for a few weeks using a quarter teaspoon of baking soda. The clarity is amazing. Doesn’t my sister‘s black and white picture below it look amazing?
Tips and Tricks to Make Ginger Wine
- Use sultanas if you want a reddish wine, use raisins if you want a clear wine.
- You can use Indian yeast brands such as Blue Bird or Crown, but I prefer using stronger yeast such as the French Saf Levure or DCL Yeast.
- If using wine yeast, 1 sachet (7 g) of wine yeast should be enough. Just follow the instructions on the packet.
- Add lemon skins or orange skins for a light fruity flavor. If you want wine with a spicy kick, use dried kashmiri chillies.
- Rerack the wine after 2 weeks or a month to remove the dregs. That means, change bottles and get rid of that stuff that settles at the bottom.
- The longer you leave the wine to rest after making it, the better it tastes.
- In case you want to give it a go, our reader Lynn tried the recipe using organic ginger juice and says it turned out pretty good too! (Just make sure there are no additives in the juice.)
Things You Can Do With Ginger Wine In Summer
- You can use this wine to make ginger wine soda with a number of additions.
- Or you can make a ginger lemon spritzer or a ginger wine lime and mint spritzer.
Bonus Tip: Because I’ve had some questions about making the wine last minute and making it faster for Christmas and other family dinners. If you’re in a hurry and wish the wine was ready quicker for a celebration or dinner or even for Christmas, here’s what you can do. Follow all the steps till day 7. On day 7, kill all the yeast and stop the fermentation process. Do this by adding a tsp of baking soda to the entire batch and leaving it alone. The next morning, bottle the wine and it’s ready to serve. It won’t reach the 8% to 15% that we usually do, but it will reach a decent 4% to 8% and everyone will still love it!
Questions about making your own Ginger Wine
Can we use any other fruits instead of ginger?
Yes, you can use any other fruits, but you’ll need to double the amount. So for 500 grams of ginger, use 1 kg of pineapple or strawberries or any other fruit.
Can we skip the raisins and sultanas?
Yes, you can skip the raisins and sultanas, but the alcohol content of the wine might be a few % weaker than this one.
Other Recipes You Might Like
- Black Currant Wine – East Indian Tweaked Recipe
- Vindaloo Recipe, pork at its best!
- Mustard Paste Recipe
- Tripe Curry Recipe
- Tongue Roast Recipe
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Spicy Homemade Ginger Wine
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- 500 g Sultanas or Raisins (See notes.)
- 500 g Ginger Bruised
- 1.5 kg Sugar
- 15 g Active Dry Yeast 15 g of any regular active dried baking yeast. Or 1 sachet (7 g) wine yeast. See notes.
- 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 4.5 l Water
- 1 Lemon Skin or
- 2 Orange Skins or
- 2 Dried Red Chillies
Prepare Your Equipment
- Sterilize your jars, buckets or demijohns and spoons by washing with boiling water.
Prepare the Ginger
- Wash and clean the ginger as needed.
- Bruise the ginger with a pestle and set aside.
Proof The Yeast
- Warm about 100 ml of water and stir in 2 teaspoons of sugar. (Deduct this amount of sugar out of your main sugar.)
- Add in the yeast and leave it aside for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, the yeast will be bubbling wildly and is ready to add to your wine bucket or ceramic jar.
- ((This step of proofing the yeast is not necessary. If you're certain the yeast is active, you can just throw the yeast into the must after adding all the ingredients for the wine must.))
Prepare The Wine Must
- While the yeast is proofing, prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- In a ceraaic jar or demijohn, take the sugar, bruised ginger, lemon juice, and sultanas (or raisins). (Both raisins and sultanas do the same work of feeding nutrients to the wine, si it doesn't matter which you use.)
- Add the remaining 4.4 litres of water into this ceramic jar or or wine bucket and stir all the ingredients together.
- Depending on the flavor you want, you can now also add in the lemon skin or orange skin or dried chillies. If you do not add any of these optional ingredients, it's fine too. The wine will have a spicy ginger taste.
- Once the yeast has finished proofing, add it to this mixture and stir again.
- Cover with a lid and leave overnight.
- For the next 6 days, stir daily every morning.
- On the 7th day, test a bit of the wine and check if you need to add a bit more sugar to make it stronger.
- Leave the wine aside for another 7 days.
Strain and Rack the Wine
- On the 14th or 15th day, use a sieve or muslin cloth to strain the wine into a stainless steel pot or another demijohn.
- Bottle the strained wine and leave aside for a few weeks or months before shifting to new bottles again.
- Optional Step: Take out a bowlful of wine and mix with half a teaspoon of baking soda. Once mixed add a few tablespoons of the wine to each bottle and let is rest for a few weeks. This will both clarify the wine and reduce acidity.
- You can see the pics showing the different stages of clarity of the ginger wine in the post. Of course, if you don't want to wait for the wine to clarify, you can easily drink and serve the ginger wine once you've bottled it. It's up to you. Cheers!
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- You can use either sultanas or raisins or a mixture of both in any amount since both do the same job.
- You can use Indian yeast brands such as Blue Bird or Crown, but I prefer using the stronger French yeast such as Saf Levure or DCL which are pretty good. Those little beasties are a lot stronger than Indian yeast.
- If using wine yeast, 1 sachet (7 g) of wine yeast should be enough. Follow the instructions on the packet.
- Try to use lemons and not sour limes as they’re zestier and less acidic than sour limes.
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Nutrition (Per Serving)
Disclaimer: Nutrition Information per serving is estimated by a third party software based on the ingredients used, and is for informational purposes only. It will vary from product to product, based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients. Please consult the package labels of the ingredients you use, or chat with your dietician for specific details.