Ginger soda is a well-loved carbonated drink in the world. It may seem like it’s too complicated to brew but it is actually easy to make at home. Learn how to make ginger soda by making a starter colony – the ginger bug! Let go of unhealthy drinks by switching to a healthier alternative with the help of ginger.
Ginger is one of the most efficient anti-inflammatory and antibacterial foods in the world, along with peppers, fatty fish, and extra virgin olive oil. Using ginger for the wild fermentation of drinks is somewhat similar to the concept of kombucha and sourdough – you’ll need a ginger soda or ale starter culture.
The ginger bug: The key to homemade soda
A ginger bug is not an insect nor a pest but a term used to describe the wildly fermented ginger soda starter culture. It is a fermented slurry of sugar and grated ginger developed through the help of wild yeast in the air. It is a concentrated form of probiotic that can produce several pitchers of fizzy ginger ale.
How to make ginger soda or ginger ale
Check out how to make ginger soda and ginger bug from scratch and amaze your family members and friends with your fermentation skills.
#1 Ferment your ginger bug
Making your ginger bug is easy and only takes 5 to 7 days. The concept is to allow the wild yeast in the air and grated ginger to colonize the sugary water. The good bacteria and yeast will feed on the sugar and turn it into acid and alcohol and release carbohydrates throughout the process.
The healthy microbes in the mixture must be fed regularly with sugar to keep them alive. You’ll know that the ginger bug is ready to use when it starts to get foamy. Bubbles are a good indication of the rich colony of wild yeast and good bacteria.
How to make a ginger bug
Some people may urge you to use active yeast but we highly recommend using the yeast in the air and trusting the natural process of wild fermentation. Here’s what you’ll need to make your ginger bug:
Materials and ingredients:
- Grate the ginger with its peel to include more yeast. Then, separate 28.3 grams of grated ginger.
- In the mason jar, pour 400g. of water and mix 28.3 grams of sugar and 28.3 grams of grated ginger.
- Mix them well until all the sugar is dissolved.
- Cover the jar with a coffee filter and seal it with a rubber band or any clean string.
- Place the jar in a clean and dark corner of your kitchen. It should be away from the direct sun to avoid killing the good microbes.
- On the next day, repeat the process by feeding the microbes with 28.3 grams of sugar and 28.3 grams of freshly grated ginger.
- Keep feeding the probiotics with sugar and grated ginger for five days until you see the mixture become foamy, bubbly, and aromatic.
Note: Only use filtered water in fermenting your ginger bug and soda. Tap water contains chlorine that can kill all the beneficial microbes that do the actual fermentation process.
#2 Make your ginger soda or ginger ale
After making the ginger bug, you can now start building carbonation and make ginger soda. This time you’ll be boiling the ginger and using an airtight bottle to build carbonation. Here’s what you’ll need:
Ingredients and materials:
- 2 liters of filtered water.
- 28g of grated ginger.
- 200g of white sugar.
- 100g ginger bug.
- ½ lemon.
- Airtight swing-top bottle.
- Boil two liters of water, place the grated ginger and sugar and mix well. Let it simmer for 10 minutes and set aside to cool.
- Add the ginger bug and squeeze the lemon on the boiled ginger juice.
- Transfer the juice to the bottle using a funnel. Ferment the ginger ale for 5 to 6 days at room temperature. Resist the urge to burp it on the third day. If you want to avoid bottle explosions, you may burp the bottle on the fourth or fifth day.
- After five days, your ginger ale is ready to drink! Place it in the fridge to stop the fermentation. You may experiment and add other flavors to improve its taste.
#3 Mix it with lemon or vodka
You can use ginger ale as a base soda and mix it with any fruit juice that doesn’t have any ascorbic acid that can kill the probiotic. To give you an idea, here are some of the best addition to ginger ale:
- Passion fruit.
- Cranberry juice.
Learning how to make ginger soda at home is easy and sustainable since it only uses a few ingredients. Just make sure to use fermentation-grade jars and bottles to avoid any bottle explosions and accidents due to carbonation buildup.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is ginger ale a soda or seltzer?
Ginger ale is classified as a soda. It is made with ginger bug and sugar while its carbonation is naturally produced through fermentation.
What is ginger soda made of?
Ginger soda is a natural carbonated soft drink made from water, sugar, and ginger bug. The probiotics in the ginger bug release carbon dioxide during fermentation, which develops into carbonation.
Is ginger soda good for you?
Yes, ginger soda is a healthy alternative to commercial soft drinks. It is made of simple ingredients that contain nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties.
What two sodas make ginger ale?
Some people experiment with mixing Sprite and Coke to achieve the taste of ginger soda. However, even if they have the same taste, mixed sodas don’t have the unique nutrients found in ginger soda.