How to Make Ginger Ale

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist September 3, 2011

Most folks do not know how to make ginger ale, yet it is one of the easiest drinks to whip up yourself in a matter of minutes.   The bonus of making it at home is that you can traditionally ferment it, meaning it is loaded with beneficial bacteria known as probiotics as well as enzymes, and you can use healthy ingredients to boot!

Fermentation of grains, fruits and herbs for the production of health promoting, refreshing and delicious drinks is nearly universal in ethnic cuisines but this practice has been largely forgotten with the rise of factory produced sodas that have no redeeming nutritional benefit and only encourage obesity and other chronic ailments.

Soda can be healthy. Learning traditional preparation techniques is all that is required to leave the belly bulging and backside expanding sodas from the store far behind and still enjoy a tart, fizzy drink on a hot afternoon!

How to Make Ginger Ale (Healthy and Homemade)


2 quarts filtered water

1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 organic limes – buy on sale and freeze extras)

2 tsp organic ginger powder (sources)

1/4-1/2 cup sucanat (sources)

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup ginger ale starter or homemade liquid whey (do not use powdered whey. You can use the contents of a probiotic capsule, coconut water kefir or the liquid strained from coconut milk yogurt from the store instead as the fermenting medium if you have a dairy allergy)

Pinch of stevia (optional)

Raw honey (optional)


Mix all ingredients together well in a 2 quart glass mason jar (Ace Hardware carries them).  Be sure to leave 1 inch at the top else the soda will rot and get moldy instead of ferment.

Leave at room temperature on the counter for 2-3 days and then refrigerate.  The ginger ale will be mildly fizzy.  You can then mix with a bit of seltzer water to add even more fizziness if desired.

Alternatively, you can bottle the fermented ginger ale and leave on the counter for an additional 1-2 days before refrigerating to produce a very fizzy beverage.

If the finished soda is not sweet enough for your taste, add a tiny pinch of stevia or stir in a small amount of mild, raw honey.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


Comments (87)

  1. Christal Brock via Facebook September 3, 2011 at 11:59 am

    I recently made N.T. recipe for Ginger Ale, in which I see your recipe does not call for fresh ginger, but powdered & using less salt & adding optional stevia or honey. I tried it & the salty taste turns me off cold or warm, maybe I should add the sweetner to see if that improves, then maybe some seltzer water. Bc as of now I hate to see it all go to waste.

    • Hi Sarah, may I ask how much grated ginger in place of the powdered one? I learned the coolest way to remove the skin from ginger.. just use a spoon to scrape the skin off, soooo easy! So for me it would be easy and fun and I would prefer the fresh ginger thanks!

      • I find it hard to believe that 3/4 CUP of grated fresh ginger is equal to 2 tsp. of dried ground ginger. Is this a typo?

      • If you have organic ginger, you don’t have to peel it. I have heard from an Indian chef that there is a lot of flavor is in the ginger skin. Not sure if there would be too much fibery stuff in the ginger ale liquid, but it could be strained. Ginger is easy to grate with a good, rasp type grater. I sometimes make a simple ginger ale with grated or chopped ginger which I put in a small food processor with water to make a raw ginger syrup, and then add this to sparkling mineral water with lemon, lime and a bit of stevia. But I’m excited to try to make this naturally fizzy fermented ginger ale. Thanks for the video and info.

  2. That is really intriguing! I’m taking the first step today … I’ll be making my own whey for the first time. I am passing this recipe info along to a friend as well, whose wife is undergoing cancer treatment and who finds even the store-bought ginger ale to be helpful for her nausea. I’m sure this homemade ginger ale would be oh, so much better (and better for her).

  3. You’ve convinced me. I’m going to give it a try. Do you need to use tall 1/2 gallon jars? I have several half gallon glass jars from coconut oil. But they are fat, not narrow and tall like the canning 1/2 gallon jars. (same size around as gallon jars, but shorter.)

  4. If I wanted to use fresh ginger instead of the powdered ginger, how much would I use in the recipe?? Looking forward to trying it! Thanks!! :)

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  6. Hi Sarah- As a new subscriber via RSS, I knew I subscribed to you for a reason ;)

    This sounds great and easy. Can’t wait to try it and have another excuse to use my cool new 1/2 gallon mason jars.

  7. can you elaborate more on freezing limes or other citrus fruits. Do you just stick it in a freezer bag & then in the freezer? does this change the fruit in any way?

    • Thanks! We are paleo /dairy and I’ve wanted to try fermented foods but heard that the alcohol content could vary widely by recipe or time left to ferment and I’ve been scared of giving kids with possible genetic alcoholism tendency anything alcoholic. This drink sounds delicious. I love ginger.

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  9. Hi Sarah:

    Any idea if I can do this without the citrus? My dad is on chemo and I’m looking for a recipe that uses probiotics and ginger to help with his stomach, but he cannot have citrus because of the medication he’s on.

    Could I substitute another fruit juice or is the citrus necessary?

    Thanks so much.

  10. Sounds delish!

    I make ginger kombucha all the time. That tastes a lot like ginger ale and is the favorite kombucha flavor in my house. Something else to try if you haven’t already.

  11. Hi Sarah,
    I LOVE your website!! I’m just making the ginger ale and realized that I wasn’t sure whether to put the top on the ginger ale while it’s sitting on the counter or do I just put a fabric cloth on top? Will one make it more fizzy? Thanks so much!

  12. Will try this soon. On gaps so can’t have whey yet. You say one can use a probiotic capsule. Could I do this for other ferments eg vegetables instead of using whey or doubling the salt? I’ve not heard anyone do this.

  13. I started ginger ale, but I forgot to put in the fridge before we left town for a fees days. It has been on my counter for 5 days. Is it bad? Do I need to start over?

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    • I would like an answer to this also. I strained the “cloudy” stuff out, and it is brown in my cloth. Not sure if it is safe to drink or not. I left on the counter, covered with the canning top for 3 days.

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  16. Sarah, I made this and blogged about it yesterday. I absolutely love the taste of homemade ginger ale … I don’t think I could EVER go back to store-bought! Btw, someone who is fasting from dairy asked if she can skip the whey entirely (I told her about the substitutions you recommended but she asked how it would turn out if one were to go without even the probiotic capsule or coconut milk yogurt??) Told her I’d ask you and get back to her :) Thanks for the awesome recipes and posts btw! You’re continuously inspiring me to venture outside my comfort zone and try new things …
    Heba @ My Life in a Pyramid\’s last post: Hey there, Ginger! How to Make Lacto-fermented Ginger Ale at Home

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  22. I have made this for the first time, it is on day two of fermenting. So excited to try it! I hope it is as good as I think it will be. Should I cover it though, or will that cause fermenting problems?

  23. Ok, I made this for the first time last week, and let it ferment for 2 days, no fizz, let it set for another day, got green mildew on top. Threw it out, and made another batch. THis time I left more than an inch of space from top of jar. I let it ferment for 3 days, and absolutely no fizz whatsoever. I used whey left from making neufchatel, which I added rennet to, with raw goat’s milk, . Could the rennet I used makeing cheese effect the whey? I am new to fermenting things and am unclear as to what is happening. If it is not fizzy, does that mean it is not fermented? I would think so. I know it won’t be real fizzy, but mine is completely flat. Thanks for any advice!! I really want this to work., as my hubby loves ginger ale.

  24. during the 2-3 initial days on the counter, do you cover the brew with a lid? or just cover with a cloth? thank you!!

  25. I used a recipe i found in Nourishing Traditions, it is very similar to this one. I used whey that I strained from whole buttermilk. My ginger ale did not turn out fizzy. Could refrigerating the whey before using it cause problems? Or maybe I just didn’t leave it out long enough. What are your tips?

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  30. Hi,
    I am just wondering if I use honey in the different fermented drinks (we are on GAPS diet) do I need to ferment the drinks longer? I am going to try the lemonade and ginger ale. Also, do you know if I can use honey in most fermented drinks like the 2 mentioned above and other sodas?
    Thanks a ton!

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  32. When you make the mixture and set it on the counter, do you cover it? What do you cover it with? The lid of the jar or cheese cloth?

  33. Okay so I have made a couple of batches now and I like using fresh grated ginger, the taste is better. And you definitely cover it with the Mason jar lid. When you open the jar to stir the ingredients occasionally, it releases some of the gas so you don’t have an explosion.


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