50g grated fresh ginger
2 whole cloves
2 tsp cream of tartar
2.5 litres of boiling water
1 sachet dried yeast
Halve 2 lemons and put them into a large stainless-steel bowl with 50g grated fresh ginger, 2 whole cloves, 2 tsp cream of tartar and 200g sugar, then pour over 2.5 litres of boiling water. Leave to cool until it's hot enough for you to be able to hold your finger in, then pour in a sachet of dried yeast. Cover with clingfilm and set aside overnight. Strain through muslin, then pour into clean bottles and screw on the caps. It should ready in 2 or 3 days.
Whatever you do, don't overfill the bottles unless you want a ginger beer explosion in the cellar. Use spotlessly clean bottles or jars, and open the screw cap once or twice to let out the gas. Make sure your ginger is new and firm so that it still has all its hot, citrus notes. Don't try and keep this beer for very long – it loses its fizz after a while.
To make your beer even more refreshing, tuck in a handful of lemon verbena leaves or a few sticks of bashed lemongrass. Suddenly the most old-fashioned drink will have a modern twist, a spritz of freshness.
• This article was amended on 13 July 2010. The original omitted the sugar. This has been corrected.