Most folks do not know how to make ginger ale at home. Yet, it is one of the easiest drinks to whip up in a matter of minutes. The bonus of making ginger ale yourself is that you can ferment it. This means it is loaded with beneficial bacteria known as probiotics. In addition, traditionally brewed ginger ale is rich in enzymes and enhanced nutritional value.
Fermentation of grains, fruits and herbs into refreshing and delicious drinks is nearly universal in ethnic cuisines. However, the rush to convenience in our modern society means that this practice is largely forgotten with the rise of factory produced sodas. Commercial versions of ancestral beverages offer no redeeming nutritional benefit. Worse, the consumption of these sugar laced or artificially sweetened drinks encourages obesity and other chronic ailments.
Soda really can be healthy! Learning traditional preparation techniques is all that is required. Leaving the belly bulging and backside expanding sodas from the store far behind is really not such a difficult task after all. You can still enjoy a tart, fizzy drink on a hot afternoon without all the health risks!
Homemade Ginger Ale
This easy recipe below for fermented ginger ale is a popular choice of readers of this blog. Note that raw whey is the recommended starter, but if a dairy allergy is present, a ginger ale starter is necessary. In addition, while sucanat is the recommended sweetener, jaggery is a healthy option as well that produces great results.
This recipe plus video provides convenient instructions for how to make a “ginger bug”.
Homemade Ginger Ale Recipe
Easy recipe for ginger ale made at home that is fermented to enhance nutritional value and add probiotics.
- 2 quarts filtered water
- 1/2 cup lime juice freshly squeezed, about 3 limes (preferably organic)
- 2 tsp ground ginger preferably organic
- 1/3 cup sucanat
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup liquid whey do not use powdered whey
- 1-2 Tbl raw honey optional
- pinch green stevia powder optional
Mix all ingredients together thoroughly in a half gallon glass jar. Be sure to leave 1 inch at the top else the soda will get moldy instead of ferment.
Leave at room temperature on the counter for 2-3 days and then refrigerate. D not leave near a fruit bowl. Homemade ginger ale is mildly fizzy. You can then mix with a bit of natural mineral water to add even more fizz if desired.
Alternatively, you can bottle the homemade soda and leave on the counter for an additional 1-2 days before refrigerating to produce a very fizzy beverage. Be sure to let the bottled soda get very cold before opening. Opening in the sink is also a good idea.
If the finished homemade ginger ale is not sweet enough for your taste, add a tiny pinch of optional stevia or stir in a small amount of mild, raw honey.
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped ginger root may be substituted for the ground ginger.
If you have a dairy allergy, you may substitute 1/4 cup ginger bug starter for the liquid whey.
Alternatively, you can use coconut water kefir or the liquid strained from coconut milk yogurt as the fermentation starter.
Other Fermented Beverages You May Enjoy
Switchel: Nature’s Healthy Gatorade
Could apple cider vinegar be used instead of whey to make ginger ale?
Sarah Pope MGA
If it is raw, it might work, but I think the taste might be strange. If you try it, let us know how it turns out!
I am on a restricted sugar diet. Do you know how many grams of sugar are left after fermentation?
Sarah Pope MGA
I haven’t tested it to know for sure.
Cap the jar tightly or use cheesecloth?
Sarah Pope MGA
Capping tightly is fine.
Can I use fresh ginger? If so how much?
Sarah Pope MGA
Yes you can. The recipe notes above provides the substitution amount.
Great, thanks. I read them this morning and I think it must be fine as when I taste a bit without the white spots it tastes like a really great sour ginger ale to me!
I made some homemade fermented ginger ale last week (not this recipe but similar), and it is now bottled and has sat out for another 2 days to get it fizzy. However, I’ve just noticed a few little white dots on the surface. Just a couple, but I wonder if it is mould? Should I skim them off and drink anyway or is there a chance it is mouldy and not good for drinking? It’s been left out for 5 days total – 3 in a mason jar and then bottled for 2 days. The lids were loose to avoid exploding glass, but I wonder if something got in? :S
Here are some guidelines. https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/mold-fermented-foods-what-to-do/
Can you use alternative sweetners like monkfruit, yacon syrup or erythritol blends?
No, you cannot use monk fruit or erythritol as the probiotic starter in this beverage requires a whole sweetener with carb content to feed it as it ferments.
Can I substitute honey or organic sugar for the sucanat?
I haven’t tried it but it would probably work fine. The flavor would be a bit different though especially if you use honey.
We’re enjoying the fermented lemonade. We also drink Haymakers punch.
Do you know if you can use cheesecloth instead of a lid on the jar, like when making kombucha, and it will still ferment?
Yes, it will still ferment.