Cranberry ginger ale is a winter tradition in Canada. A warming combination of spicy, sour and sweet, it is usually bought in large 2 liter bottles. The commercial version of this red, sparkling beverage is mostly just sweet. In contrast, homemade ginger ale is made with the ginger bug for a flavourful and probiotic drink.
A fully flavoured ginger ale
Homemade cranberry ginger ale can be flavoured to suit your personal taste. Make it without sugar for a tart beverage. Mix with sparkling water for a mild and bright drink.
Here are a few flavours that can be added to the mason jar of cranberry ginger ale.
- For a spicy ginger ale, add 2 tbsp of fresh grated ginger. This will float as it ferments, so I recommend straining before bottling.
- Mulling spices will give the ginger ale the flavour of a mulled cranberry apple cider. Use 1 stick cinnamon, 3 cloves and 3 allspice berries per bottle. Or use 1 tsp of ground cinnamon and 1/8 tsp each of ground nutmeg, cloves and allspice.
- My favourite flavour addition is 1 tbsp of orange zest or lemon zest. It adds a fresh dimension to the ginger ale.
This photo is of two different types of ginger ale. The bottle on the left is mixed 50/50 with pressed apple juice and cranberry juice. It doesn’t contain any added sweetener, and the sugar in the juice was enough to carbonate the ginger ale. The bottle on the right is just cranberry juice with white sugar, and it has a much stronger tart-sweet flavour than the apple and cranberry ginger ale.
Homemade Cranberry Ginger Ale
Homemade cranberry ginger ale is a sour, sweet, sparkling and spicy drink. Made with the ginger bug, it is a delicious and probiotic holiday tradition.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 4 cups 1x
- Category: Beverage
- Method: Fermented
- Cuisine: Canadian
- 3 1/2 cups cranberry juice
- 6 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 cup ginger bug starter (liquid only)
- Spices, fruit and other flavour additions (see section above)
- Mix all of the ingredients (including any additional flavours) in a large mason jar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Cover with a piece of cloth or a coffee filter held in place with a rubber band or metal ring. Place the jar somewhere warm and allow to ferment for 3 days (stirring each day.)
- Once it is bubbling, strain the mixture and bottle it. Allow it 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! Ginger bug sodas are best if consumed within four weeks of bottling.
- To make traditional ginger ale, you need to catch a ginger bug starter. It usually only takes 3-5 days as ginger naturally ferments.
- Replacing half or all of the cranberry juice with apple juice will provide enough natural sugars to avoid the need for added white sugar. Either way the resulting beverage will become less sweet as it ferments.
- Finished ginger ale will continue to build up carbonation. Use plastic pop bottles or swing-top bottles (affiliate link) that are designed to handle the carbonation.
- Homemade cranberry ginger ale is a very strong flavoured beverage. For a milder drink, mix 50/50 with sparkling water.
Keywords: probiotic, ginger ale, ginger beer, thanksgiving, Christmas, winter sugar-free, holiday, gluten free, vegan
Homemade Cranberry Ginger Ale
- Yield: 6–12 1x
- 2 3/4 cups cranberry juice
- 5 tbsp sugar (see notes for a sugar-free option)
- ¼ cup ginger bug starter (liquid only)
- Optional additional flavours (see above for ideas)
- Mix all the ingredients until the sugar is dissolved.
- Pour into a 750mL bottle that will be able to tolerate the carbonation. Leave it to ferment at room temperature for 3 to 5 days to build up the carbonation.
- Once it’s fizzy, refrigerate and enjoy!
- Consumed within a four weeks.