The following recipe comes from my book Food, Drink and Celebrations of the Hudson Valley Dutch (History Press, 2009). Mary Young and Evelyne Richardson of Harlem — who prepared African food at one of the early Pinkster Festivals held at Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow — gave me the recipe for this wonderful, seemingly intoxicating, non-alcoholic drink. It’s a favorite all year long!
1 cup minced fresh ginger (about ½ pound)
1 quart boiling water
Juice of 2 lemons
3½ cups pineapple juice
Generous dash of freshly grated nutmeg
Sugar to taste
In a quart jar combine ginger and water and steep for 3 hours.
Strain liquid into a large pitcher; add the lemon and pineapple juice.
Stir in the nutmeg. Taste and add sugar as necessary.
Serve over ice cubes.
The ginger beer also makes for a very good cocktail: for every 8 ounces of ginger beer, simply add 1½ ounces of light rum. Enjoy!