West African Ginger Drink

West African Ginger Drink

By Laura Coffee, Marketing & Owner Services Manager, Co-op Owner

I wanted to try making something a little bit different that still allowed for the use of easy to find ingredients. With the hot temperatures we’ve been having lately it seemed like a good idea to try out a summer drink from another part of the world. The first recipe I decided on was this West African Ginger Drink. It packs a spicy ginger punch that is really nice, and the concentrated version could easily double as a flavorful marinade. This beverage is often served with fatty fried foods and is also known in the region as a popular folk remedy for the flu.


  • 3 large ginger rhizomes*
  • 4 whole limes**
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 Tbsp raw sugar (More or less is ok, sweeten to taste.)
  • 1 heaping Tbsp peppercorns


Begin by chopping the ginger and limes into chunks, leaving the skin on both. (I suggest washing them first since you will be using the peels.)

Place the ginger and limes in a large blender or food processor with two cups of water and blend until a thick, almost paste-like consistency is reached. It will look a bit like hummus. Pour through a strainer and press to remove all juice from the pulp. The pulp can then be discarded. If you don’t have a mesh strainer you could also use cheesecloth or a large reusable coffee filter for this.

Pulse peppercorns, sugar, and 1 cup water in the blender/processor until peppercorns just begin to break down. Pour strained juice back in and blend until well incorporated. Pour through strainer again and then transfer liquid to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Chill.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Once juice is chilled add additional water or ice to taste and enjoy. I found that a ratio of one part juice to one part water/ice was just about perfect for me.
  • Add plain hot water to the still warm juice and serve hot, like tea.
  • Dilute juice with sparkling water instead of tap water.
  • Freeze juice, concentrated or diluted, into ice cubes that can be added to punch, juices, and cocktails for added flavor.
  • Omit sugar and use full strength in soups, dressings, and marinades.

*About a pound of unpeeled fresh ginger root.

**A common substitution is lemons or chunks of pineapple. Pineapple will yield a sweeter finished drink than the citrus. Skin should be removed when substituting pineapple.

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