So here’s my fermenting foodie confession… I don’t regularly brew kombucha (gasp!) and I don’t have water kefir on the go (shock!). The truth is that we don’t really drink fizzy beverages around here. The proof of this strikes me whenever I open the fridge and see the cans of San Pelligrino soda that I bought at the beginning of summer. They’ll probably stay there for a long, long time.
However, on a hot summer’s day sometimes a sweet, sparkling, probiotic beverage is just the thing. The ginger bug is a perfect solution. It allows me to make on-demand sodas without having to maintain a culture long-term. We’re off to a seaside cabin this week, so a few ginger bug sodas are just the thing to enjoy on the beach while the kids run around building sand castles.
The method is similar to making Ginger Ale, but, you then get to flavour it however you want!
- 3½ cups juice or brewed teas (flavour ideas below)
- 6 tbsp sugar (see notes for options)
- ¼ cup ginger bug starter (liquid only)
- Mix all the ingredients until the sugar is dissolved.
- Cover with a piece of cloth or coffee filter held in place with a rubber band or metal ring. Place somewhere warm and allow to ferment for 3 days (stirring each day).
- Once you have bubbles strain the mixture and place in a bottle (see notes) and allow to ferment for a further 3 to 5 days to build up the carbonation. You may need to add more sweetener at this time (to taste).
- Once it's fizzy, refrigerate and enjoy! It tastes best if consumed within a few weeks.
-The ginger bug needs the sucrose of sugar for the initial ferment. However, for the second ferment (the bottled ferment) feel free to sweeten to your taste with any kind of sweetener. However you will get more bubbles with sugar.
-Finished ginger ale will continue to build up carbonation. Store it in plastic pop bottles, or swing-top bottles that can handle the carbonation pressure.
Juice: I recommend using clear juices, like blueberry, apple or pomegranate. If you want a sparkling lemonade then use just 1/2 cup of lemon juice mixed into filtered water. Avoid juices that have preservatives added, as they may prevent the ginger bug from fermenting the juice.
Teas: Brew a quart of tea (any flavour of tea will work). I recommend chai, mint or rooibos.
Other additions: You can also flavour the ginger soda with spices, dried fruits, vanilla bean or citrus zest. The flavour of ginger will always be there, so keep that in mind when experimenting.