So I’m really excited about the concept of fermented sodas. I know that this is by no means a new idea (in fact it is the original way to make soda), but it is something that I have just recently started to experiment with. For a girl who has never been one for heavily sugared, artificially colored, commercial sodas of death, the idea of making a naturally sweetened, probiotic filled soda of…well…Life, is incredibly intriguing. So I decided to turn my little jungle shack into somewhat of a fermentation laboratory and see what I could come up with. I started with a traditional root beer made of several incredible herbs which tasted wonderful, but came up a little “flat”…literally. So I realized that I needed to perfect the art of making the perfect starter culture before I wasted any more hard to come by herbs. So I went back to square one and simplified my efforts. Since I’m blessed with an abundance of fresh ginger growing on my property, I decided to shift my focus from root beer to ginger beer. So armed only with locally sourced ginger, pure sugarcane juice and 8 grohlsh bottles (that my boyfriend so lovingly emptied for my cause) I was able to make a completely natural, incredible healing tonic that tasted better than any ginger ale I’ve ever found on a store shelf (and I’m not being biased!)
Natural ginger ale not only makes a refreshing summer drink, it actually helps to heal your body with every sip. Ginger has been heralded for centuries for its incredible healing properties that include boosting immunity, fighting viruses, aiding digestion and alleviating nausea. Combine these properties with a natural fermentation process and suddenly you get a probiotic rich, powerhouse cocktail. And once you see how easy it is to make…you’ll be able to blow your local lemonade stand out of the water in no time.
Just follow the recipe below and keep in mind these important points:
1. Always use glass bottles that can be sealed with no chance of air escaping…think Grolsh flip top bottles. I’m sure you can track down a willing helper to empty them for you.
2. Cover your culture VERY well with several lays of cheesecloth or a t- shirt, pillowcase etc and place in a bowl of water to avoid contamination by curious insect friends…especially if you live in a shack in the jungle.
3. Be patient. Everything gets better with time.
4. Have fun experimenting and never take yourself too seriously. Like us, Liquid is energy and will be affected by your intentions.
What you’ll need (makes ~3L of ginger ale)
3 (or more) inches of Fresh ginger root (organic!)
2 Cups of Natural, unrefined cane or coconut palm sugar (not stevia!) ***Update: I now omit the sugar and use pure, fresh juiced sugarcane in place of 1-2 cups of water. It is a more subtle sweet flavor but packed with vitamins and live enzymes!
Juice of two organic lemons
~3.5L Fresh, filtered water (I use the Santevia alkaline water system)
Grater (you can use a food processor for this too)
High powered blender
Large Pitcher, Jug or Bowl
Cheese cloth (or other straining material)
Flip top bottles
How to do it
Making the culture (the ginger bug)
Step 1 – (Day 1) Grate about 1 inch of fresh ginger and place it in a glass jar with about a cup of water and 1T of sugar. Cover with several layers of cheesecloth and secure with an elastic band. Put it in a warm (not hot) location away from direct sunlight.
Step 2- (Day 2) Add another 1/2inch of grated ginger and another teaspoon of sugar to the mixture and re-cover.
Step 3 – (Day 3) If you notice a significant tiny bubbles forming on the surface of your mixture, your culture is ready If not, continue Step 2 daily until you do. If you don’t plan to use your culture immediately you will need to keep feeding it daily until you use it…otherwise it will die.
Making the Ginger Ale
Step 1 – Grate ~2 inches of fresh ginger, divide into approximately three equal parts and set aside. The amount of ginger you use is based mainly on taste preference, so sample your mixture as you go and adjust the ginger/water ratio to your liking.
Step 2 – Add 1 Litre of water to your blender with 1/3 of the grated ginger root and 1/3 of the sugar. Blend on high for a few minutes. Pour mixture through a strainer covered with cheesecloth into your large pitcher or bowl. Continue this step for the remaining water, ginger and sugar.
Step 3 – Now pour your pre-made ginger bug through the strainer covered with cheesecloth into the pitcher of ginger juice.
Step 4 – Add the lemon juice to the mixture and use a wooden spoon to gently mix everything together.
Step 5 – Use your funnel to pour the mixture into your flip top bottles, leaving ~1 inch of space at the top of each bottle.
Step 6 – Secure the bottle tops and place them in a warm (not hot) area that is out of direct sunlight for 5-7 days. Following the fermentation period, transfer the bottles to the refrigerator for another 2 days to increase carbonation before enjoying your new brew.
Now you can enjoy an icy glass of your homemade ginger ale, close your eyes and just let yourself drift away to the warm Caribbean sunshine…even if it’s just in your mind…