This fermented ginger drink is the perfect refreshment on a hot summer day



What with the ginger shot trend floating around among online health ladies, I was excited to try this fermented ginger drink in my “5 Surprising Uses for Ginger from Around the World” episode. I was even more excited when I saw that this khemere recipe came from Lesotho, a small, independent country in the middle of South Africa. This drink reflects the flavors of a small but culturally rich kingdom, and I was honored to try it!

This khemere recipe comes from Moliehi, who is originally from Lesotho but now resides in the United States. Made from ginger, pineapple, sugar, and yeast, this simple drink ferments over several days. However, you can still make it without the yeast; the fermentation process simply takes longer.

Moliehi shares with us that khemere is typically enjoyed at large gatherings, including weddings, birthdays, funerals, and holidays. She associates this drink with childhood memories of playing outside at any event and rushing indoors to sip on a cold glass of khemere, savoring the icy temperature and refreshing, sweet flavors on a hot afternoon.

In my experience, the fermentation process was simple and yielded a near-boozy taste that always pairs well with pineapple. I left the drink to ferment for four days in my closet with the door shut, shaking it once a day. The bubbles that appeared were so interesting to observe, and the final product had some effervescence to it! It’s not overwhelmingly sweet, but you can always add more simple syrup to counter the pineapple-ginger funk.

Making khemere reminded me of my recent fermentation episode, and the process was just as fun as I remember! I hope you try, and enjoy this unique fermented ginger drink during a summertime rendezvous and let me know how you like it!

Watch the Video


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-1½ Tbsp fresh ginger grated
  • 2 liters water
  • packet yeast
  • peel of one pineapple optional


  • Bring 1 liter of water to a rolling boil. Put sugar in boiling liter of water and stir until sugar is dissolved.
  • Remove water from stove and add all the ginger and pineapple peel. Stir.
  • Add liter of cold water to the pot. Let cool until mixture is lukewarm.
  • Pour mixture into a container large enough—this works best if it is glass.
  • Add yeast. Stir. Cover container but leave slightly ajar to allow for it to burp.
  • Leave in a dark, room temp cabinet for at least 3 days to ferment. Check everyday after the first three days. You can keep “feeding” your khemere every other day with 1 tbsp of sugar. The longer you feed it, the more it will ferment. If left longer (7-8 days) it will become alcoholic.
  • To serve, sieve the khemere and serve in a tall glass with ice. You can add thin wedges of the pineapple for aesthetics.


Recipe inspired by Lesego Semenya
Course: Drink
Region: Africa
Keyword: Crowd-pleaser


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