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Health Benefits of Ginger Beer and How to Make Your Own at Home

Health Benefits of Ginger Beer and How to Make Your Own at Home

There is so much more to ginger beer than being a key ingredient to making the perfect moscow mule. When consumed on its own, ginger beer can have some amazing health benefits. In fact, one of the most popular ways to consume ginger is in its beer form. Yes, you read that right! Ginger beer is much healthier than most carbonated drinks, and it’s also one of the most refreshing drinks you can easily prepare in your own home.

The key ingredient in ginger beer is ginger root, which is known for its myriad of culinary and medicinal uses since ancient times. The ginger root holds an active compound called gingerol, a natural oil which is a rich source of minerals such as magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, and vitamin B6. This active compound is responsible for ginger’s medicinal properties. Additionally, gingerol is also responsible for the rich unique fragrance of the root.

Ginger Beer Ingredients

In its simplest form, ginger beer can be made using either fresh or dried ginger, sugar and lemon juice. Not to be confused with the fizzy ginger ale, ginger beer’s carbonation is created by adding yeast during the brewing process, whereas the ale’s fizziness is obtained through adding seltzer water. There are two varieties of ginger beer currently being sold: alcoholic and nonalcoholic. The taste of ginger beer greatly varies due to the differing amounts and types of ginger and sugar used. More importantly, some brands do not indicate the ginger content in their beer. Thus, the best way to truly reap the benefits of this amazing beverage is to make your own at home.

Ginger beer has a number of health benefits that make it quite different from most refreshing beverages:

Relieves Nausea and Improves Digestion

Did you know that ginger beer is an effective remedy against nausea and morning sickness? According to studies conducted by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, ginger beer enhances digestion and helps food move smoothly through the stomach. Stomach discomforts and nausea are strongly correlated with one another. Ginger’s active substances gingerol and shogaol are effective agents in relieving stomach irritation and other digestive discomforts. Moreover, these substances also help activate your body’s saliva and bile production, and the latter mixes with the food contents within your stomach and thereby assists in digestion.

Generally, regularly working out and ensuring a proper diet can improve your metabolism, but this is not always possible. Certain situations like sickness, injury recovery and pregnancy may not allow such regimens. In such situations, drinking ginger beer can be a great alternative. Ginger’s active compounds are an effective agent for activating various digestive functions such as bile production and pancreatic lipase stimulation, which help enhance the body’s energy flow and ultimately help the body burn fat. Plus, ginger is all natural, proven to be safe, and does not have side effects.

Lowers Cancer Risk

Ginger beer’s effectiveness at preventing cancer is not yet conclusive, and further scientific studies need to be conducted. However, early indications are that ginger beer’s active compounds exhibit anti-cancer properties. Findings from various studies such as the one conducted by the Cancer Prevention Research in 2013 demonstrate that ginger killed off colorectal cancer cells in humans and also prevented the cancer from growing back. Another laboratory study published by the Molecular Nutrition and Food Research in 2016 showed that ginger prevented the development of human cancer cells.

Gastrointestinal cancer and liver cancer are some of the most common cancers present around the world. Fortunately, we have superfoods such as ginger available at our disposal. In addition to gingerol and shogaol, other active compounds like zingerone and paradol work in unison to fight cancer cells. Moreover, these compounds exhibit chemo-preventive properties that alleviate the signaling molecules that cause inflammation and stop the other destructive activities of the cancer cells in our bodies.

    Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

      Have you ever suffered from arthritis, osteoarthritis, gastritis, esophagitis, hepatitis, and any other type of body inflammation? Ginger beer can help! Body inflammation happens when the body’s white blood cells are set into motion to fight or protect our body against foreign substances. This sudden release of chemicals raises blood flow to the afflicted area, which results in inflammation. Ginger contains active compounds that can effectively suppress the inflammation and also aid in pain relief.

      Studies have been conducted regarding its effectiveness against body inflammation. In 2013, a laboratory study found that ginger works just as well as an anti-inflammatory medication such as steroids in curbing rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatism. The research published by the International Journal of Preventive Medicine says that regular intake of ginger can help suppress tissue inflammation, and can also help protect our body against diseases that can be contracted from various infectious agents and harmful habits such as cigarette smoking.

      Ginger’s potassium content provides detoxification support and works well with glutathione, which is a strong antioxidant produced by our body that eliminates harmful free radicals. Other minerals present in ginger such as manganese and silicon help protect the heart’s blood vessel lining and promote healthy nails, skin, hair, and teeth.

      Anti-Bacterial Properties

          Ginger’s anti-bacterial properties helps explain why it serves as one of the primary ingredients in many culinary recipes and traditional medicines available in the world today. Active compounds found in ginger make it a very potent antibacterial agent. A study regarding ginger’s antibacterial properties was conducted by the Department of Life Sciences at the University of Buea in Cameroon, and extracts have been observed to effectively suppress four different respiratory tract pathogens. In Nigeria, a study was also conducted to see which among ginger extract and several antibiotics was better at suppressing microbial activity, and findings revealed that the ginger extract was superior to the antibiotics.

          Drinking ginger beer is also effective against various fungi, such as the Streptococcus Pyogenes and Staphylococcus Aureus. The primary compound responsible for this action is the root’s gingerol. Making this beverage a part of your health regime can help your body get rid of bacteria and fungi, and also spare you from expensive and potentially harmful antibiotics.

            Slows Down Signs of Aging

              Aging is a fact of life, but the telltale physical signs such as wrinkles don’t have to be! Drinking ginger beer can help delay the aging process and the signs that go with it. Its aroma alone can already make us feel good and lift our spirits. Stress, whether emotional or psychological, expedites the aging process. A glass of ginger beer can certainly bring about a sense of calm and should also give us the energy to keep up with our daily routines.

              Moreover, ginger beer can promote good mental health. Its key ingredient, the ginger root, has been traditionally used to treat many mental problems such as memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Ginger intake can greatly increase brain levels of important neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. It can also promote the activity of another important neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which is key to effective learning and memory. So, if you are someone with a family history of Alzheimer’s, consider drinking ginger beer as a preventative measure.

              How to Make Your Own at Your Home

              We cannot emphasize enough how beneficial drinking ginger beer can be to the body, but it will be all the more beneficial and healthier if you can drink something homemade. Homemade ginger beer is sure to yield better health benefits than those commercially-bought since the preparation process does not involve any chemicals or preservatives. Making ginger beer at home also allows you to have a refreshing drink any time of day. In this recipe, we will discuss the simplified version, which would only take about 2 to 3 days to complete, and the authentic version, which would take about 4 to 6 weeks to complete. The main difference between these two versions is that the authentic version uses a ginger bug which will be discussed further in this post.

              Simplified Ginger Beer

              Ingredients

              1/4 cup of grated ginger (peeled)
              1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar
              1/4 cup of lemon juice
              1 teaspoon of baker’s yeast
              1 cup of sugar
              Wa
              ter

              Instructions

                1. In a large pot, combine the grated ginger, cream of tartar and the lemon juice.
                2. Add 4 cups of water, and bring the mixture to a full boil.
                3. Turn the heat down once it reaches a full boil, then add the sugar and stir until all of the sugar is dissolved.
                4. Add 5 cups of cold water to the pot and allow it to cool to about 75 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius).
                5. Add the yeast, and stir well.
                6. Cover the pot with a towel, and store it in a warm and dark part of your house, or anywhere away from light. Let it sit for about 3 hours.
                7. Transfer the mixture into a large pitcher. Use a fine strainer to remove the bits of ginger.
                8. Pour the liquid into clean glass bottles with swingtops. Make sure to only fill the bottles about 2/3 full as the fermentation will yield carbon dioxide. If the bottles are completely filled they may explode due to pressure.
                9. Place the bottles in a warm and dark part of your house and let it ferment for 2 to 3 days. Carefully loosen the caps up to three times a day to relieve some of the pressure.
                10. You may refrigerate the ginger beer if you like. Note that refrigerating will stall the microbial activity in the beer, and allowing it to stay at room temperature will cause it to continue fermenting.

                Authentic Ginger Beer

                The authentic version of ginger beer is a two-step process using a ginger bug, which is a collection of beneficial bacteria and yeasts. The resulting beverage is rich in probiotics, which, when consumed as part of a regular diet, will promote a healthy digestive system.

                Step 1: Ginger Bug

                Ingredients

                2 to 3 tablespoons of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
                2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar
                2 cups of water
                Glass jar
                Towel or cloth
                Rubber bands

                Instructions

                1. In a glass jar, combine the grated fresh ginger along with the sugar and water. Stir with a wooden or any non-metal spoon until the sugar has been completely dissolved.
                2. Cover the glass jar with a towel or cloth, and secure it with rubber bands.
                3. Let it sit for about 5 to 7 days at room temperature. Once a day in that 5 to 7 days, add an additional 2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar and 2 to 3 tablespoons of grated fresh ginger.
                4. You can check to see if it’s ready by looking at the bubbles formed. The mixture should fix even if disturbed, and should emit a sharp, yeasty smell.

                Step 2: Ginger Beer

                Ingredients

                Approximately 2 x 8 inch pieces of ginger root, peeled and grated
                1.8 gallons of filtered water
                1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
                3 cups of sugar (white or brown)
                1/3 cup lemon juice
                2 cups of ginger bug

                Instructions

                1. In a pot, combine the grated ginger, sugar, salt, and 1 gallon of water. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir periodically to let the ginger diffuse evenly.
                2. Take the pot off the heat and add the remaining water. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
                3. Use a fine strainer to remove the ginger bits.
                4. Pour the ginger bug into the mixture. Make sure that the mixture is already at room temperature before pouring in, as the mixture will kill the ginger bug if it is still hot.
                5. Pour the lemon juice and stir well.
                6. Pour the liquid into clean glass bottles with swingtops. Make sure to only fill the bottles about 2/3 full as the fermentation will yield carbon dioxide. If the bottles are completely filled they may explode due to pressure.
                7. Keep the containers in a warm, dark place or anywhere away from light, and let it ferment for about 10 days. Remember to carefully loosen the caps a few times a day to relieve some of the pressure.
                8. You may refrigerate the ginger beer if you like. Note that refrigerating will stall the microbial activity in the beer, and allowing it to stay at room temperature will cause it to continue fermenting.

                As an added note, the longer you ferment the beverage, the less sweet and more dry it becomes. If you prefer a sweeter ginger beer, you may choose to ferment it for a shorter period than instructed, or add more sugar. You may also customize the beverage according to your liking – you may add fruit juices for extra flavor or liquor to make it alcoholic.

                Final Thoughts

                Better than commercially available ginger beers, homemade ginger beer has a more subtle flavor profile. Not only it is tastier, but it is also much healthier as it has lower sugar content and can be further boosted with probiotics depending on your preference. You can also adjust the intended flavor by varying the amount of sugar and the duration of the fermentation.

                Homemade ginger beer also makes a great base for the perfect moscow mule cocktail served ice cold in classic copper mugs. We find that fresh ginger beer makes for a particularly refreshing moscow mule with just the right balance of spicy and sweet.

                We hope this post inspires you to try making your own ginger beer from scratch and to reap all of the health benefits ginger has to offer!

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                Copper Mug Succulent Arrangement

                Copper Mug Succulent Arrangement

                If you adore succulents and love having them around the home, consider planting one in a copper mug for your next DIY project.

                What are Succulents?

                Succulents are a type of plant that stores water in their leaves. These leaves are generally thicker and can vary in size. Succulents also thrive in warm temperatures and only need minimal watering.

                An experiment was conducted to see if succulents can change their method of photosynthetic metabolism in response to an environmental shift. They used baby rubberplants (Peperomia obtusifolia) as the test subject. They discovered the plants were able to save water and maintain low levels of metabolic activity during drought periods by completely closing their stomata and continuing to generate organic acids.

                Benefits of Indoor Succulents

                Succulents continue to produce oxygen in the evening. This is in contrast to other houseplants that respire carbon dioxide when the surroundings are dark. Succulents are able to do this because they belong to the species of plants that have Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) characteristics.

                Succulents can also help purify the air inside your home. If succulents are grouped together, this purifying effect can be amplified. If you’ve always wanted to have plants in your home but can’t commit the care most houseplants demand, succulents are a perfect option. They are very low maintenance and only require watering about once a week.

                Types of Succulents

                Below are some popular varieties of succulents that can be a great addition to any home:

                • Jade plant

                • Echeveria

                • Zebra plant

                • Panda plant

                • Ghost plant

                Why Choose Copper Mugs?

                Copper mugs are often used for cocktails such as the moscow mule, but they can also be used in many other applications around the home. In this case, succulents can be uniquely and beautifully displayed in copper mugs. Unlike clay or ceramic pots which will break when accidentally dropped, copper mugs will safeguard your succulents in case of falls. If you have a surplus of mugs or don’t drink, using copper mugs as a planter for your succulents will give the mugs a new purpose rather than collecting dust in storage.

                Not only do copper mugs provide sturdy protection for your succulents, but they also look terrific as decorative pieces. The lovely contrast between the copper’s metallic sheen and the succulent’s vibrant green leaves looks great in almost home and quickly becomes a unique conversation piece.

                In interior design, warmer metals like copper, brass, and rose gold are very much in style at the moment. These warmer metals help create a more cozy and elegant atmosphere. The copper trend originally began when British designer Tom Dixon introduced copper hanging pendant lamps. The trend then rippled to other accent pieces and accessories for the home. If you are looking for an affordable way to incorporate some copper in your interior decorations, copper mug planters for succulents are an inexpensive way to quickly refresh any nook at home!

                How to Arrange Succulents in Copper Mugs

                Materials

                1. Copper mugs

                2. Succulents

                3. Potting soil mix for succulents and cacti

                4. Spray bottle with water

                Before buying your succulents, you will need to evaluate the space you plan to place the arrangement. This will help you choose the right succulent that will be able to thrive in that particular environment. As previously noted, succulents thrive in warm environments with bright light.

                Instructions

                1. Measure the size of your succulent including the soil. This will help you estimate the amount of soil to place inside the copper mug.

                2. Fill the copper mug about ¾ full with soil, depending on the size of the succulent. Create a small pit in the soil using your fingers.

                3. Using the spray bottle, spray some water on the soil that is in the copper mug as well as the succulent’s roots.

                4. Gently place the succulent inside the copper mug. Add more soil around the succulent if needed.

                5. Lastly, spray some more water on the soil and succulent.

                Taking Care of Succulents

                Using a watering can, gently pour water into the soil until the soil is damp. Be sure not to drown the succulent in too much water. Once the succulent’s soil is completely dry, the plant can be watered again. The soil can take anywhere from three to four days to completely dry. Remember, only water your succulents when the soil has completely dried and never over water them!

                The best spot to place succulents is near a window so they can soak up the sunlight. However, be careful during periods of the day when the sunlight and heat becomes too intense, as such heat can burn the succulents. You may want to diffuse the sunlight during the brightest times of the day with a blind or sheer curtain so that the succulents can still absorb some sunshine without getting burned.

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                Pumpkin Spice Moscow Mule

                Pumpkin Spice Moscow Mule

                In North America, fall has become synonymous with pumpkin spice. Come September 1st everyone is talking about pumpkin spice lattes which is a little early for such a fall flavor in our opinion. But with cool weather and fall holidays like Thanksgiving and Halloween upon us, now is the perfect time to add a little pumpkin spice to your life! Forget the pie and lattes, we've got pumpkin spice mules on the menu and they are the perfect drink after a long, dark and cold day.

                The recipe is relatively simple but requires a couple of ingredients you might not have on hand:

                Ginger Beer

                Ginger beer is the classic spicy and bubbly mix that gives the traditional moscow mule its kick. It can easily be found at your local grocery store and is usually sold in small bottles similar to a beer bottle. Though its name is deceptive, ginger beer is actually non-alcoholic. We make our own ginger beer from scratch and it's the best.

                Pumpkin Beer

                This is a seasonal ingredient you might not find easily year round. In fall it is quite common to see pumpkin beer at larger beer and wine stores as well as craft breweries. This ingredient is essential for giving this drink its pumpkin flavor.

                Once you have those two ingredients, the rest can easily be found in your kitchen or home bar.

                We love this fall-inspired take on the traditional moscow mule and think it's the perfect cocktail to serve at your next party! Your friends and family will be talking about your creative cocktail skills long after the night ends and the vodka wears off. We think everyone needs a signature cocktail up their sleeve - could this be yours?

                Pumpkin Spice Moscow Mule
                Serves 1

                Ingredients

                2 oz premium vodka
                1/3 cup ginger beer
                1/3 cup pumpkin beer
                Splash of club soda
                1/4 oz fresh lime juice
                Cinnamon stick for garnish
                Apple slices for garnish

                Instructions

                Fill a moscow mule mug with ice
                Add vodka and fresh lime juice
                Top with ginger beer, pumpkin beer, and a splash of club soda
                Garnish with a cinnamon stick and apple slices and serve

                Thanks to Britta Bisig for the delicious recipe and photo!

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                The Kombucha Mule: A Funky Alternative to the Traditional Moscow Mule

                The Kombucha Mule: A Funky Alternative to the Traditional Moscow Mule

                Nothing quite compares to an icy cool Moscow Mule on a hot day. But what if you are following a diet and don’t want all the sugar typically found in ginger beer? Did you know our copper mugs are perfect for keeping any drink icy cold, and not just Moscow Mules? We recently discovered a healthy and delicious twist on our favorite cocktail that tastes incredible in our copper mugs.

                We’ve been using kombucha in place of ginger beer and the tart and fizzy beverage is all the rage in health circles. You may remember mushroom tea from the 90s that sat on the counter in a large jar for months growing a mushroom like disc at the top known as a SCOBY (which is short for "symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast"). Many of our parents drank the tea and many of us remember that it had such a questionable smell that we couldn’t bring ourselves to try it. But now mushroom tea, or kombucha, has become mainstream and can easily be purchased from most grocery stores. And we can personally attest that it tastes delicious.

                But what is kombucha anyways? Kombucha is essentially sweet black or green tea fermented with a culture of yeast and bacteria (or a SCOBY). It’s generally made with only four ingredients: tea, water, sugar, and SCOBY. While that might not sound appetizing, it tastes like carbonated iced tea with a slightly acidic finish. And what’s more, it’s incredibly good for you and might even help curb your hangover. Sign us up!

                Kombucha is full of probiotics, antioxidants, and B vitamins to name a few. Probiotics are live, healthy bacteria that help create a healthy balance of organisms in your intestines. Kombucha is also said to have detoxification properties which cleanse the body and support a healthy immune style, which is why you might wake up without a hangover after indulging in this delicious beverage.

                You can buy your own kombucha, ready made from the store and flavoured with delicious additions such as ginger, raspberry, or mint. For the more adventurous, you can even make your own kombucha from scratch if you have a small SCOBY to start the tea. You can sometimes find SCOBYs at farmer’s markets, Etsy, or even Craigslist (weird but true), but the easiest way would be to find a friend who already makes homemade kombucha and can give you a piece of their SCOBY.

                Fun fact: did you know kombucha has a small percentage of alcohol already in it? You might have felt that slight wine buzz after downing a bottle quickly with lunch and that’s due to the small alcohol content. The alcohol content is less than 0.5% which is why it doesn’t have to be labeled on the bottle and you don’t have to be a certain age to purchase according to the rules and regulations of the Food and Drug Administration.

                Once you’ve found your kombucha (for simplicity we prefer to buy our own ready made ginger kombucha) you can get started with your delicious kombucha mule recipe. If you’re serving guests that aren’t big drinkers, feel free to omit the vodka for a virgin cocktail that tastes seriously good.

                Kombucha Mule
                Serves 1

                Ingredients

                1 1/2 ounces premium vodka
                1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
                Ice cubes
                1/2 cup ginger kombucha
                Fresh herbs for garnish such as mint, basil or rosemary

                Directions

                Pour vodka and lime juice into copper mugs
                Add ice and ginger kombucha
                Stir to combine
                Garnish with fresh herbs

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                Ginger Beer for Moscow Mule

                Ginger Beer for Moscow Mule

                Our customers often ask for our favorite ginger beer for Moscow Mule. Finding the right ginger beer makes all the difference in a perfect tasting Moscow Mule! We love a local ginger beer we recently discovered called Dickie's Ginger. We also love the classic Reed's Ginger Brew that you can find just about anywhere.

                What's the best ginger beer for Moscow Mule in your opinion? Let us know in the comments!

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