How to make Ginger Wine At Home

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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.

Washed and cleaned ginger - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Wash and clean the ginger
Bruise the ginger - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Bruise the ginger

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.

A mix of raisins and sultanas in the ceramic jar - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
You can use a mix of raisins and sultana

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 or 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.

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.

Add the water, ginger and other ingredients to to the jar - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Add the ginger to the water
Yeast added to the ginger wine must
It’s not necessary to proof the yeast
On day 2, the ginger wine has started fizzing and you can see the raisins and lemon moving in it - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Day 2 : The ginger wine has started fizzing
The ginger Wine is still fizzing on day 3 with the raisins at the top - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Day 3 : Wine still fizzing
On Day 5, a little less fizz in the ginger wine - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Day 5 : A little less fizz in the ginger 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!

Pic of a glass of Ginger Wine next to a piece of ginger and a kitchen towel - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Ginger Wine is Ready

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. The clarity is amazing. Doesn’t my sister‘s black and white picture look amazing?

Clear ginger wine in a glass next to a blue book
Clear ginger wine made with raisins
Black and white picture of homemade ginger wine take by Sarah of TheWingedFork
Love this black and white pic that my sis took
Glass of clear ginger wine on a blue mat - Pic by Sarah of TheWingedFork
Really clear ginger wine

Tips and Tricks to Make Ginger Wine

  • Use sultanas if you want a reddish wine, use raisins if you want a clear wine. 
  • If you’re using Indian yeast brands such as Blue Bird or Crown, you’ll need 25 grams, but if you’re using stronger foreign yeast such as Saf Levure or DCL, just about 15 grams is good.
  • 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.

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 wine might be a few % weaker than this one.

Other Recipes You Might Like

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Glass of clear ginger wine on a blue mat - Pic by Sarah of TheWingedFork

Spicy Homemade Ginger Wine Recipe

AbbyAbby
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.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Fermenting Time 14 d
Total Time 14 d 30 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine East Indian, Fusion, Indian

Equipment

  • Ceramic Jar or Wine Bucket or Demijohn
  • Wooden Spoon (Or Stainless steel spoon or foodgrade plastic spoon)
  • Sieve or muslin cloth
  • Stainless steel pot to strain the wine
  • Pestle for grinding the ginger

Ingredients
  

  • 500 g Sultanas or Raisins (See notes.)
  • 500 g Ginger Bruised
  • 1.5 kg Sugar
  • 25 g Active Dry Yeast 25 g Indian yeast, 15 g foreign yeast. See notes.
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 4.5 l Water

Optional Flavors

  • 1 Lemon Skin or
  • 2 Orange Skins or
  • 2 Dried Red Chillies

Instructions
 

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 25 grams of 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 cermaic 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.
  • 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!

Notes

  • You can use either sultanas or raisins or a mixture of both in any amount since both do the same job. 
  • If you’re using Indian yeast brands such as Blue Bird or Crown, you’ll need 25 grams, but if you’re using foreign yeast such as Saf Levure or DCL, just 15 grams is good. Those little beasties are a lot stronger than Indian yeast.
How to make Ginger Wine at home - By Abby from TheWingedFork
Recipe for Spicy Homemade Ginger Wine - By Abby from TheWingedFork

25 thoughts on “How to make Ginger Wine At Home”

    • Hi Cynthia,
      The clear wine had been racked for almost 4 weeks. We sometimes rack it for 2 weeks, and sometimes go all the way up to 6 months. It depends on how often we have visitors. But of course, the longer you rack it the better.

      Reply
    • Hi Jeanette, the stirring is to degas the wine. You don’t have to heat up the water to melt the sugar. The sugar used will be consumed by the yeast and will turn into alcohol within a week.

      ((The only reason you might want to heat the water before using it is if you live in a region where the water is not potable. In this case, boil the water and let is cool down completely before using it.))

      Reply
    • Hi Kevin,
      Was the ginger used damaged? Is it stored in a good place? Was anything wrong with the sugar? Did any flies, bugs, sticks or leaves drop into the wine? Did any acetobacter from the air get into it? Wine can get sour for a lot of reasons. You can salvage the wine by putting it back in a demijohn or glass jar, add a teaspoon of baking soda to it and leave it alone for a 2 or 3 weeks. (Please make sure you use baking soda and not baking powder.) At the end of that, the baking soda should have neutralised most of the acidity in the wine.

      There is also the chance that acetobacter got into your wine and turned it into vinegar. If this happened, just use it for cooking instead. And let me know if you have any questions.
      Abby

      Reply
      • Hi Abby, the baking soda took care of the acidity in the wine… But it’s been 4 weeks now and tastes a little too mild. Can I add more sugar to increase the alcohol content or should I just leave it in peace and it will mature into good strong ginger wine?

        Reply
        • Hi Sheryl,
          The ideal time to add the sugar would have been around Day 7 when the yeast were still active. Or during the following weeks before adding the baking soda. Once the baking soda is added to the wine, in addition to reducing acidity it also kills off the remaining yeast. So the wine will mature, but in this instance, it won’t get stronger. How do you feel about using this wine for cooking and starting a new batch?
          Abby

          Reply
  1. Currently making this wine for my family, just had a question, I am using a big jar and have left the lid on, is that correct? Or should I leave the jar open with a cloth over top to let out carbon dioxide after day 7 when I stop stirring?

    Reply
    • Hi Tracy, both ways work. We usually just leave the lid on loosely fitted so that there’s just enough of a gap for the carbon dioxide to escape without any insects falling in. But if you prefer to cover it with a cloth, that works too! Happy tasting in December!

      Reply
  2. I’m on day 15 of attempting to make this wine. But it looks and smells more like ginger beer (cloudy) in colour than above. Have I done something wrong?

    Reply
    • Hi TJ,
      It’s okay if it’s cloudy at Day 15 as long as it tastes good. Strain it into another jar and leave it alone for a week or more to let the dregs settle before you rerack it (meaning simply change bottles and throw out the sediments).

      But if you want the wine to clarify sooner, you can add about half a teaspoon of baking soda to the wine jar before bottling it. This will fizz for a bit, and that’s fine. But it will get the dregs settled quicker and might also add a slight tasty fizz to the wine, just like ginger beer.

      But more importantly, clarity takes time, you can enjoy some of the wine but leave a few bottles aside where you can’t reach them, so that you can come back weeks later to find clear wine.
      Abby

      Reply
  3. Hi Abby – going to try this. Never made wine before. A few questions: Is the final product like regular dry wine or more sweet dessert wine? What is the right temperature to store at during the 15 day process? When we bottle them at the end, do we have to seal them airtight, or will cork do? Also, after bottling, do we need to keep it in the fridge or outside just like regular wine? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Jacob,
      It’s almost like a regular table wine with just a hint of sweetness. The best temperatures are around 20 to 30 degrees Celsius. So as long as your demijohn or jar is in a cool dry place, it’s fine.

      We just cork the bottles. There’s no need to refrigerate the wine. If stored properly in a cool dark environment, (we store it in a stone cabinet), the wines last for months, or even years. Hope that answers all your questions.
      Abby

      Reply
    • It really depends on the quality of your ingredients, and how your ingredients react to each other. Our wines turn out pretty potent and average above 10%, but in general homemade wines can have an alcohol content ranging anywhere from just 5% to as high as 15%

      Reply
  4. Is it possible to freeze the wine before running it through a muslin cloth.

    Then, put the frozen liquid over a muslin cloth and let it defrost through a colander very slowly and the droplets of wine should be totally clear? (There may be colour, but it should be clear).

    I saw Heston Blumenthal do this with chicken soup consommé and he explained the easiest way to get a totally clear soup!

    Reply
    • Hi Steve,
      There’s a difference between food and drink. Yes, companies use cold stabilization to remove tartaric acid from lower quality wines, but that’s not a process that can be done at home.

      When it comes to regular wine, once it freezes, the water content in it expands and it can burst out of the bottles. But that aside, the slush produced will taste off, more like a really cheap version of the wine that you froze. And that will be best suited to cooking instead of drinking. It’s best to let the homemade wine clarify naturally over time. Or if you’re in a hurry, use either gelatin, egg shells, or a tsp of baking soda. (The baking soda also gives it a nice fizz.)

      Also, if you freeze leftover wine as cubes to add to a dish, it might taste okay. People do this. We don’t. Let us know if you have more questions!
      Abby

      Reply
  5. Hi Abby! It’s day 8 and my wine is still fizzing. Is that normal? Should I stop stirring the must every day and just leave it for another 7 days? I’ve got the lid covered with a muslin cloth.I’m worried that if I rack it after 15 days, given the amount of carbon dioxide in it the bottles might explode. Should I let it ferment for longer than 15 days to let the gas escape? Incidentally it smells gorgeous! I added orange peel and Kashmiri chillies. And it certainly has an alcoholic kick to it!5 stars

    Reply
    • Hi Jo,
      The fizz will start to die off around the 11th or 12th day. If it’s not completely gone by the 15th day, you can strain the wine and add it back to the jar for another week or two. There’s no problem with that. But you don’t want to leave the ginger in the wine for more than first two weeks. So strain it and then add it back to the jar.

      Another method we use sometimes is, if you have place to leave the wine bottles standing up in the cabinet, then you can rack the wine and cork it loosely so that the excess gases escape.

      Let us know how it goes. 🙂
      Abby

      Reply

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