Making your own naturally fermented ginger ale is a two step process. After perusing recipes on various websites I decided to make my own recipe. All of the recipes I found involved having to cook a mixture of grated ginger, sugar, water, and molasses. I decided to adapt it by doing the second ferment with juice instead of the cooked version. Not only was my version easier but the juice was sweet enough that no additional sugar was needed.
First you must make a “ginger bug”. It is the first ferment that produces the probiotics.
- 1 t grated fresh ginger
- 1 t sugar
- 16 ozs filtered or spring water
- pinch of baking soda
Place above ingredients in a jar. Cover with a coffee filter or paper towel held in place with a rubber band (I have also used a loose plastic lid). Set in a warm place to ferment. Every day for the next 4-7 days add 1 t sugar and 1 t grated ginger until you notice bubbles at the top of the jar. Your bug is now ready for the second ferment.
This is the easy step. Place 8 ozs of ginger bug and 8 ozs of juice in your fermenting vessel of choice. Allow to sit in a warm location for 24-48 hours until it fizzes when you open the bottle.
Add 8 ozs of filtered water, 1 t sugar and 1 t grated ginger to your ginger bug. If you are going to use it in the next day or two set it out to ferment. If it will be longer than that store it in the fridge until you are ready to make a new batch. Then set it out to ferment 1-2 days and it will be ready to go again. If you aren’t going to use it again for a while just keep it in the fridge and feed weekly with 1 t sugar and 1 t ginger.
That ‘s it. Easy a pie. I have used grape juice and strawberry kiwi so far. The end product has a light ginger taste. You could use other juices but I doubt orange juice would taste good. Fresh lemon or lime juice would make it more like traditional ginger ale but you would have to add sugar and cook it to dissolve the sugar.
You can use an empty pop bottle but I prefer not to use plastic. You can also use a glass jar that seals tightly. The best thing to use is a grolsch bottle available from many retailers online. I actually bought a fermented lemonade at Aldi (pictured below) as it was cheaper than buying a grolsch bottle.
I would love to hear what other flavors you try. Happy fermenting and have a frugal day.