Before I’m going to show you how to make my favorite homemade soda, ginger ale, I’m going to teach you how to make a ginger bug. A ginger bug is a culture of friendly bacteria who live from ginger and sugar.
It is used as a base for ginger ale or other natural sodas or tonics. It is actually quite similar to the mother of ACV, scoby of kombucha or sourdough starter for bread. Whey can also be used and ferments faster, but ginger bug tastes so much better. It’s super easy to make and can be kept “alive” for ages in your fridge or on your countertop.
How To Make Ginger Bug
- 1-2 fresh ginger roots
- ½ cup white or unrefined sugar (honey, stevia, agave, maple, molasses or other sweeteners will NOT work)
- 2 cups filtered water (chlorine-free, chlorine can harm the culture)
FYI: the bacteria use the sugar in their fermentation process. So the bacteria eat all the sugar, the end product contains no, or very little sugar.
- Grate 3 tablespoons of ginger and place in a quart size jar.
- Add 3 tablespoons of sugar and 2 cups of water.
- Stir with a spoon and lightly cover with a coffee filter or cheesecloth and rubber band.
- For the next 3-5 days (it may take 7-8 days depending on the temperature, but no longer): stir the mixture at least once a day and feed it 1 tablespoon grated ginger and 1 tablespoon sugar.
- An active culture will form bubbles, become cloudy, smell yeasty, and fizz when stirred. If mold appears, scrape it off. When too much mold appears or the process takes longer than 7 to 8 days, start over.
- Keep away from other cultures like scoby or sauerkraut to avoid contamination.
- When the culture is alive and bubbling you could keep it on the countertop and feed it daily with one teaspoon sugar and one teaspoon grated ginger or let it rest in the fridge. When resting in the fridge don’t forget to feed it every week, 1 tablespoon sugar and one tablespoon grated ginger.
- To reactivate the culture, bring it back to room temperature and daily feed it again.
This one is almost ready to go, one more day!
Use ginger bug to create fermented fizzy sodas or tonics. Use in a ¼ cup ginger bug per 1 quart sweetened herbal mixtures or fruit juices. Again the sugar in these drink will be used by the bacteria to ferment and create the fizz.
That’s how easy it is! Make sure to keep an eye on my next post as I will tell you how to make your own cultured fizzy ginger ale.
Do you have any experience with making your own fizzy drinks? Please share your thoughts with us in the comment box below.
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Thanks for reading. Until next time!
Crazy cat lady, life and food lover, certified biologist, and holistic health coach.