d o c t o r a n d m a m a

Linda Shiue

Linda Shiue
San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA
December 31
I am a physician and spend my free time with my husband and kids, reading everything in sight, eating, traveling, and cooking meals inspired by my travels. These days I'm spending more time at my food blog, spiceboxtravels.com. Please visit me there and follow me on Twitter @spiceboxtravels. Disclaimer: Health information presented here is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions. © 2010-12 Linda Shiue. All Rights Reserved.

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JULY 1, 2011 2:32AM

Bicycles, Books, and Ginger Beer on the 4th of July

Rate: 13 Flag

ginger beer by Linda Shiue


I am daydreaming of those lazy summers of my youth, where bicycle trips to the local library would reward me with global adventures, if only in my imagination.  I was in 5th grade when I stumbled upon a tattered paperback copy of Five Fall Into Adventure, one of the volumes in the expansive Famous Five series by British children's author Enid Blyton.  I may have been a shy and bookish girly girl reading in a pleather armchair in the basement of our Long Island home, but when I opened Five Fall Into Adventure, I was Georgina, the brave tomboy heroine my age, always on a quest for adventure (of course).  Georgina, or George, as she insisted upon being addressed, spent her summers pedaling the English countryside with her cousins.  It's been decades since I read the book, but I haven't forgotten the images of them taking rather civilized breaks from their sometimes dangerous dallyings to have a proper picnic of homemade sandwiches washed down with ginger beer.  Beer? thought my incredulous 10 year old American mind-- kids drinking beer? It took me many years and a trip to the Caribbean to understand that ginger beer is a strong brew, but a non-alcoholic one.

So if you're looking for a refreshing cold drink for the 4th of July and want something a little more adventurous than the standard icy cold beer, have some ginger beer.  Celebrate Independence with this non-alcoholic beverage enjoyed in the (other) former British colonies in the Caribbean.  It has an intense zing, much more potent than ginger ale.  Cheers!

Homebrewed Ginger Beer Recipe adapted from Naparima Girls’ high School Diamond Jubilee 1912-1987: Trinidad and Tobago Recipes, © 1988 Naparima Girls’ High School, San Fernando, Trinidad.


1 pound fresh ginger

1 lime

4 pints water

granulated white sugar, 1 to 2 pounds (to taste)

4 pints sparkling water


1. peel and grate the ginger root

2.  juice the lime, and reserve the peel

3.  place the above ingredients into a large jar with the water

4.  place the jar in the sun for an entire day-- go out on your bicycle and fall into adventure!

5. strain out solids, and sweeten the liquid to taste

6.  allow to settle in the refrigerator for 2 days

7.  add sparkling water to taste or desired fizziness


Tired of the same old burgers and hot dogs? Here are a few twists to help you celebrate the 4th of July in style: 

Silk Road Lamb Burgers  

Gyro Lamb Hot Dogs

Looking for some other great books to magically transport your kids to other places and cultures? Take a look at my list of books to raise globally aware readers. 


© 2011 Linda Shiue

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Did you know that in real life Enid Blyton was said to be a tyrant to her own family. Made me re-think all those books I was force fed as a kid.
Nice juice by the way - I can envisage millions of Americans making it and pouring it into cans to drink.
Well maybe not.

I'll try it but not on the 4th, wot wot.
Rated with an Ug.
Yum, that ginger beer sounds awesome--something about fresh ginger just seems healthful and right. It does indeed sound like a perfect picnic drink. Enjoy your holiday weekend!
Thanks for the ginger beer recipe, Linda! I will definitely try this at home... :)
Oh Linda that is one of my favorite drinks when I have a curry goat roti but now I can make it at home thanks to you. Thanks for sharing this wonderful sounding concoction with us here at OS.
great recipe, linda - i had no idea you could make your own, but will have to be careful about the quantities since i'm, let's say, addicted.

and, of course, if you add a little Gosling's Black Seal rum, you have a Dark and Stormy, a perfect summer drink-drink. thanks!
Thanks everyone for coming by!

@Creekend_UK, that is disappointing to hear. Reminds me of reading some of Roald Dahl's writing for adults and realizing maybe he did not have such a sanguine view of children either.

@Felicia, thanks! Happy 4th to you, too!

@clay ball, hope you enjoy it.

@Algis, curry goat roti is my husband's favorite food in the world. Do you make your own?

@Candace, thanks for the tip on the Dark and Stormy.
I raise a cup of ginger beer to you and your family, Linda. Happy Indy Day!
Great idea. I love those extra strong Reed's Ginger Brews (although I overdid it on the ginger during my first pregnancy and I'm only just coming back around to it). Thank you also for the link back to your list of books! I had missed it and it's just what we need for these lazy summer days. Happy Independence!
Wonderful!!!!! Thanks for the ginger beer recipe, that sounds fantastic!
I'll drift off tonight to the words "ginger beer." Love it. Happy 4th!
I'm going to try this on the 15th of August, the Indian independence day.
This sounded and looked so tempting - I'm headed to the store for ginger. Then I looked again at your proportions. 1 to 2 POUNDS of sugar to taste?? To four pints of liquid. Then sweeten? Really?
Another good one Linda. I was a library kid too. Way in the back stacks reading Encyclopedia Brown Mysteries -- I still love a good mystery. I just got turned on to Honei Ginger Tea, so good and crazy strong. Great for any kind of head/throat congestion. Have a great Fourth!
@Vivian, I know it sounds scary. Caribbean tastes do run sweet. But it's actually 8 pints liquid (as you see, 4 to brew, then add to 4 pints sparkling water.) Hope you still try it-- and maybe use the 1 pound of sugar. Happy 4th!
Hi Linda,
Thanks for clearing up the ginger beer mystery for me.
Have a great 4th!
I feel like I've really missed out on something. I've never read the books you've mentioned OR had ginger beer. Luckily, both can be rectified!
Not familiar with with Enid Blyton. But I think from your description I would have liked her. I was into Nancy Drew because I felt she was brave and always doing something dangerous. Thanks for the Ginger Beer recipe. We don't drink alcohol, but love to party. This sounds perfect.