Recipe: Pineapple Gemere (Ginger Beer)

I prepared this Ginger Beer recipe as soon as I realized I was gonna have visitors.   To me this drink is not only cost saving but it also gives me a sense of home.  I mean, we grew up in neighbourhoods whereby there were households selling Gemere.  In my hood back in Queenstown, there’s a lady that makes the best Gemere I’ve tasted, we call her uMakaThando (Thando’s mom).   She used to prepare it and sell it in two litre containers.

A friend from Langa Township was also raving about a Gemere prepared and sold by someone in the area.  I got to taste it and it was good.  But everyone needs to have their own Gemere recipe.  Back in the day, I used to cut out recipes from newspapers and magazines, I still do.  That’s how I got to have a Gemere recipe.  I got it from True Love magazine in 2006, I tried the recipe as it was at first then put my own spin to it.   Now, every time I feel like having a Homemade Ginger Beer I use the recipe below.

Pineapple Homemade Gemere (Ginger Beer)

7 litres boiling water

800ml sugar

45ml (3Tbsp) ground ginger

6 dried ginger stalks

10ml (2tsp) dried yeast

1 packet tartaric acid

1 packet cream of tartar

2 handfuls of raisings

1 queen pineapple, peeled and sliced


  1. Pour boiling water into a large saucepan, add sugar and stir until it dissolves.
  2. Add ground and dried ginger.  Simmer for about 30 minutes and leave to cool.
  3. When mixture is lukewarm, add all remaining ingredients.
  4. Strain, cover and keep in warm place for at least two days to mature.
  5. Chill and serve.

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12 Response Comments

  • Jane-Anne Hobbs  January 17, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Thanks for this recipe Thuli – I can’t wait to try it. x

    • Thuli  January 19, 2014 at 10:53 am

      Hi Jane-Anne!

      Compliments of the new season! It is my pleasure and I hope you enjoy it!

      Much Love,


  • Sma  January 17, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    My grandma agreed to show me how to do it, I guess I’m gonna surprise her now all thanks to you.

    Love your blog,
    Sma XXX

    • Thuli  January 19, 2014 at 10:55 am

      Hi Sma,

      Hope 2014 is treating you well so far! By all means please show granny that you can also make Gemere! 🙂 Don’t be surprised if she tells you that you are not preparing it “the right way” i.e. her method! Ha! But you should take her method into consideration, you’ll probably learn a thing or two. Enjoy!

  • Jonica Gubula  January 23, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Hi there!
    I just happened to be on this blog by accident and I love it!
    It reminds me of all the good things we had growing up and the not so good things, like fetching water(grumble).
    Thank you so much for this, ndiyabulela sisi 🙂

    • Thuli  January 23, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      Hi Jonica!

      I’m glad you like it! Ha! You mean the days zokugengqa imbombozi yamanzi okanye uqhube ikiliva enembombozi ezimbini kungenjalo uthwale iemele ? LOL! Those were the days hey! Hope you get to try out some of the recipes 🙂

      • Jonica  January 29, 2014 at 1:11 pm

        Hahahaha! Ndandithwala i-emele after school back and forth. But it was worth a bowl of umnqusho or rosta made by uTolokazi, my gran. 🙂
        I will definitely try out the recipes. They look great!

  • rose  June 19, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Hi Thuli

    After a failed attempt at making gemmer last weekend, I found your recipe, tried it, and it came perfect.
    I just noticed that it was a bit acidic, maybe I should ease a bit on tartaric.
    I did not use ginger stalks as I did not have and also pineapple.

    But I know one fun way to make your gemmer is to add cocopine concentrated juice, it changes it color but does not loose the lovely aroma and taste

    • Thuli  June 21, 2014 at 11:02 am

      Hi Rose,

      I’m glad you found a recipe that works. Doesn’t it take longer to ferment now considering its winter and the weather is cold and totally not conducive for the fermentation process which require warm temperatures?
      Anyhow, perhaps the stalks and pineapple mask the acidity. Thanks for sharing your tip! I’ll give it a try! I can’t help but laugh at it though, I mean how did you come up with that idea? 🙂

  • Erna  December 29, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Hi , would liketo know where to get dried ginger stalks. Pls.

    • Thuli  December 31, 2014 at 11:06 am

      Hi Erna,

      You get them at any retails store. Robertson Spices has them in a box. Look at the spice aisle. Xx

  • gwyneth  December 6, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Hello Thuli
    I love this receipe, will try it this Christmas.
    Please advise when do you sift the pineapple and raisins

    Thank you



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