Healthy, Homemade Ginger Ale

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

homemade ginger aleMost folks do not know how to make homemade ginger ale, yet it is one of the easiest drinks to whip up yourself in a matter of minutes.   The bonus of making ginger ale 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!

Healthy, Homemade Ginger Ale 


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 homemade 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.  Homemade 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, homemade ginger ale and leave on the counter for an additional 1-2 days before refrigerating to produce a very fizzy beverage.

If the finished homemade ginger ale 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


Other Fermented Beverages You May Enjoy

Switchel: Nature’s Healthy Gatorade

Hindu Lemonade

Homemade Orangina

Homemade Rootbeer


Comments (92)

  1. Rachael Charbonneau April 11, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Do you distinguish between ginger ale and ginger beer? Sally has a complicated recipe for ginger beer that is very good but that I’ve only had hit or miss success with. This recipe is much easier.

  2. I dont know if this comment will be seen since the original post was so long ago, but here goes! I followed the recipe above with only two exceptions: I used coconut sugar and the lid of the pitcher I used is not air tight. I let it sit on the counter for ~66 hours, stirring once since it looked like everything had settled to the bottom. At the end of this time, there was still a layer of ingredients just sitting on the bottom of the pitcher and minimal fizz. I had to go to work for a 24 hour shift, so I stirred again and divided into four small bottles, hoping for fizziness. Will see what it looks like when I get home, but was wondering if that sounds right??

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

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  6. 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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  11. 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?

  12. 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!!

  13. 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.

    • For fermenting you need to use sour whey (the byproduct of cultured dairy like yogurt or buttermilk). If you use sweet whey (the byproduct of most cheese making), I don’t think it will work because it isn’t acidic

    • As an edit to my earlier comment, I realized its not the acidity that matters in this case for fermentation( it’s important when soaking grains, etc.) , but the presence of probiotics in the whey (as a result of the cultured dairy)

  14. 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?

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  19. Heba @ My Life in a Pyramid December 15, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    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 …

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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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  22. 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?

  23. 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.

  24. 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!

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

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  28. The alcohol is extremely minimal due to the addition of whey and sea salt to the recipe. You can always make some and test it at home if you want to. I believe someone told me that you can buy an alcohol test strip or meter of some kind at the drugstore?

    • 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.

  29. 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?

  30. 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.

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  32. 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!! :)

  33. 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.)

  34. 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).

    • Yes, I’ve tried fresh ginger (use 3/4 cup finely grated and peeled). It just takes so much time to grate the ginger so I typically make with the ginger powder. The results are basically the same taste-wise. I’m sure the version with the fresh ginger is even more beneficial.

      • 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.

        • That is true about the ginger skin. Ive made meads before and there was a discussion I was on, and with experienced meadmakers they were claming you had to add a lot of ginger to get the desired effect and to do this it was recommened to leave the skin on. I only would with organic ginger though.

    • 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!

  35. 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.


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