Parks Canada Heritage Gourmet Recipes

Ginger Root Beer

Originally bottled and left to ferment, this drink is enjoyable and refreshing right away.

Ginger Root Beer

Origin: The Fur Trade at Lachine National Historic Site
Region: Quebec
Period: Traditional
Course: Beverages and Other

Ginger Heritage illustration of ginger
© Koehlers Medizinal-Pflanzen, 1887

Lachine occupied a strategic position on the fur routes of the 18th and early 19th centuries as a departure and arrival point for trading expeditions. It was also an important centre for storing the Montréal merchants' furs and for trading goods. These merchants, known as the “bourgeois,” were mostly of Scottish origin. They hired the voyageurs and provided them with canoes and equipment. They also bought the goods required for trading and sold the pelts on the London market through British brokerage firms.

Brewed ginger beer originated in England in the mid-18th century and became popular in Britain, the United States, and Canada so it is not unlikely that it was a favourite beverage for both the merchants and their workers to help cool down on hot, humid days.

Ginger Root Beer


  • 20 cups | 4 litres water
  • 4 cups | 1 litre sugar
  • 1 pkg | 2¼ tsp | 12.5 g dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp | 15 g ground ginger
  • 5 oz | 100 g raisins
  • 2 ½ tsp | 7.5 g tartaric acid/cream of tartar


  • Mix everything, except the tartaric acid. Let rest for 24 hours. When the raisins float, strain the mixture through cheesecloth. Add the tartaric acid and put into bottles and cap. Fill bottles only 7/8 to allow for brewing. Serve cold.


Recipe tested by Chef David Fairbanks, Algonquin College School of Hospitality and Tourism

This traditional recipe was submitted by Parks Canada staff.

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