RECIPE: Homemade 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 effective 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 on it.   Now, every time I feel like having a Homemade Ginger Beer I use the recipe below.  You can add pineapple as well as granny smith apples to bump up the taste.

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 raisins

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 the mixture is lukewarm, add all remaining ingredients.
  4. Cover and keep in warm place for at least two days to mature.
  5. Strain with a muslin cloth.
  6. Chill (it tastes amazing when it is ice cold) and serve.

Author Info


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

Comments ( 20 )

    • Hi Jane-Anne!

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

      Much Love,


  • Sma

    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

    • 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

    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 🙂

    • 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

        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

    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

    • 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

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

    • Hi Erna,

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

  • Gwyneth

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

    Thank you


  • Anonymous

    Great recipe I would also add about 3 cups of sugar to it though to feed the yeast and mask the sourness a bit

  • Anonymous

    How much is in (how big?) a packet of both tartaric acid and cream of tartar? do they come in one size only now, i ve seen makro advertising 12g packets while other sources quoting 25g

    • Hi there,

      Use the 12g packet.


      • Miss Shadhiyi

        Thanks for clearing this up, and about where to get the ginger stalks..I was gonna ask the same. Isn’t it amazing that there are some things we never see at the grocer store because they aren’t in our habits? Imagine, I buy spices every month but have selective eyesight in that I only see things I usually buy.

  • Peter Lebopa

    ku zo ba mnandi ekhaya! Thanks for this information. I have started to cook it, but was doing it wrongly. My drink. I cannot drink the other fuzzy drinks.

  • Palesa Molatlhegi

    Hey Thuli

    Thanks for recipe Sisi. All the best

  • Ma Mee Gyaung

    Hello Thuli

    Thanks for the recipe

    I’m in a remote place in Asia and cannot readily get my hands on tartric acid or cream of tartar. Can you suggest a substitute pls.

    • Hi Ma Mee Gyaung,

      Try lemon juice, it should work. Let me know how it turns out. 🙂


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