Welcome aboard the Homemade Ginger Ale train. You’ve got your trusty ginger bug culture in your suitcase, right? If not, you will want to read this post first. There you will learn everything you need to know about the ginger bug that is key to making the fizziest, probiotic-rich sodas right in your own kitchen. You end up with a sweet, bubbly beverage entirely free of additives, preservatives, artificial colors, and forced carbon dioxide.
There is something so magical to me about creating over the top carbonation out of natural ingredients. Plus, ginger bug cultured soda is ready in as little as 24 hours plus chilling time in a tropical climate. Colder climates give varying times, and there is a learning curve. That’s a good deal of the fun though with live, fermented foods. Whether it’s sourdough bread, kimchee, yogurt, or kombucha, living foods are unique to your environment and ingredients.
Have you started dreaming yet about what soda flavors you would like to have? I recommend starting with straight ginger ale. Trust me, there isn’t anything plain about it. You get to choose whether it’s mildly spicy or tongue-burning sweet. You can also adjust the amount of sweetener to your taste. You’ll be amazed by your own creation.
Once you have the hang of the process of making homemade ginger ale, you can branch out to an endless world of flavors. Some of the favorite varieties in our house are tamarind, pineapple, elderberry, and grape soda. I’ve had the best results using fresh or frozen concentrated fruit juices and homemade syrups for flavoring and carbonation. Whole fruits and spices can occasionally yield off flavors, but it’s worth experimenting with your own combinations.
Because we are talking about geyser-spilling, lid-popping soda, you’ll want to have strong glass bottles with reliable lids to ferment and store your brews. Swing top bottles like these are ideal. Here’s a final pro tip. Always make sure you chill your finished sodas before opening. That way, your effervescent Homemade Ginger Ale will end up in your glass and not all over your counter or table.
Ready to go? If the answer is yes, I’m delighted you’ve signed up for another new culinary adventure.
Homemade Ginger Ale + 4 Flavors
- 1/4 – 3/4 cup chopped organic ginger
- 1/4 tsp. Himalayan pink salt or sea salt
- 3/4 cup raw sugar to taste
- 7 1/2 cups filtered or spring water, divided
- 1/3 cup strained fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup strained ginger bug culture
Boil and Steep Flavorings
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add ginger, salt and sugar. Stir a few minutes to make sure dissolves completely and cook gently for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep until lukewarm.
Strain and Add Ginger Bug Plus Lemon Juice
- When ginger and sugar mixture is lukewarm or cooler, strain it into a large pitcher or bowl that holds 8 cups.
- Add ginger bug, lemon juice and remaining 5 1/2 cups of water. Stir to mix.
Bottle Soda For Fermentation
- Use a funnel to pour soda into four 16 oz. swing-top bottles and cap tightly. Let ferment 24 hours at room temperature. You can "burp" the sodas every 12 hours to release CO2 and gauge fermentation.
- When a noticeable stream of bubbles rush from bottom of glass to top, your soda is ready to finish in the refrigerator. You don't need to wait until it actually spills over the top of the bottle.
- Place in refrigerator and chill completely before opening. Sodas last a couple weeks and then begin to lose sweetness gradually. Let your Hula Honey age for two months for a wild pineapple champagne!