I've long been a fan of good strong ginger beer, and after seeing the Good Eats episode on ginger and the relative simplicity of the recipe for making it, I decided the main project this weekend would be to make up a batch.
In a saucepan, add one cup water, two cups sugar, and the zest of one lemon. Grate about four thumbs of ginger (I used a microplane grater and didn't bother to peel the ginger), add that. Heat until the sugar dissolves and then simmer for about three minutes. Remove from heat, and then let steep for one hour.
In the mean time, take two empty two liter bottles, clean and rinse very well. Add seven cups of good tasting water (filter if you have to, especially if you have chlorinated water).
After the hour is up, filter the lemon zest and ginger bits out of the sugar syrup. Add to it the juice of the lemon you zested. I ended up with about 1-3/4 cups of syrup. Divide the syrup between the two bottles, and then add 1/8th of a teaspoon of active dry yeast to each bottle. Cap and shake very very well.
At this point, you have some head space in the bottle. I squeezed most of the air out of it --- it's the carbon dioxide the yeast are going to produce as they digest the sugar that is important to making bubbles, so I figure filling as much space in the bottle with it will help. Let sit someplace warm for 48 hours. When that time is up, but the ginger beer in the fridge to slow the yeast down.
That's where I'm at, the waiting bit. Now, the yeast will also produce some amount of alcohol, but if you put it in the fridge after 48 hours, it will be a very slight amount. You are also cautioned to burp the bottles once a day or so, unless you want a Ginger Beer Explosion in the fridge.
Taste results when I open them up in a couple of days.