Did you know that you can make a homemade ginger ale without any pre-existing culture? Yes! It’s true! Like sourdough, the “Ginger Bug” is a free range culture that probably is already floating around your home. How exiting is that!?
The only thing you need to make this fermented drink is a little fermentation know-how (check out the fermentation basics) and time. Here’s the basic recipe for the Ginger Bug… so get started on this, then check out my recipe for Ginger Ale, and Ginger Sodas.
- Fresh ginger (enough to add 1 tbsp a day for 5 days)
- Sugar (white, or unrefined)
- 3¼ cups of water (chlorine free)
- Finely dice (or grate) 1 tbsp of unpeeled ginger. (The skin helps with the ferment).
- Put the ginger in a glass quart jar with 1 tbsp of sugar and water.
- Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Cover with a cloth (or coffee filter) and secure in place with a rubber band, or jar ring.
- Place somewhere warm to ferment.
- Every day add another tablespoon of diced ginger and tablespoon of sugar.
- After 2-3 days it should start to bubble.
- Once it is really bubbly (5 days) you are ready to make ginger ale.
-Store the ginger bug in the fridge until you are ready to use. However, to keep it active feed it 1 tbsp of ginger and 1 tbsp of sugar every week.
-I used panela sugar (unrefined) which is why my brew is so dark. If you use white sugar, then you’ll have a much paler soda.
-Like many open air ferments, this does develop a bit of scum on the top. Watch out for molds or bad smells, which mean it’s gone off. Otherwise, you don’t need to worry.
-Thanks to Nourished Kitchen for the original inspiration for this ginger bug recipe.