Lactofermented Ginger Beer

Last soda recipe!  Ginger beer.  Ginger is a traditional remedy for upset stomach, remember mom bringing you ginger ale when you were sick?  There isn’t a whole lot of ginger in the store brands, but something like this is sure to deliver the healing power of the root *and* it tastes awesome.

Another bonus this time of year is that it’s the right season for the classic Dark & Stormy cocktail…and to make a good Dark & Stormy, you need a Ginger Beer that can stand up to the spiced rum.  This one should do it *and it’s pretty good for you* – could balance out the alcohol?

Ginger Beer Ingredients:

  • 8 cups water (filtered preferred)
  • 4-6 inches of ginger root (grated)
  • 2 limes (you could use lemon, but lime is better) juiced
  • 1 cup ginger bug (recipe here!)
  • 1-2 cups sweetener of your choice (not honey – it’s anti-bacterial and you need the bacteria)

Do this:

  1. In a heavy bottomed pot: add the water and ginger.
  2. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer covered for 20 minutes.
  3. Turn off heat, add sweetener and stir to dissolve completely.
  4. Leave the pot covered for 30 minutes.
  5. My favorite part of all the recipes I found involved cooling the wort (the thing about to be soda) to blood temperature! Generally you want to cool it to somewhere between 80 and 90 degrees so as not to hurt your ginger bug. I found that I had to pop the pan into the fridge for about 15-20 minutes to get there – but spot check it, you definitely don’t want it cold. I also found that none of my kitchen thermometers got cool enough and I had to use my under-the-tongue medical thermometer. When your ginger beer has cooled, squeeze in the lime juice and stir.
  6. Strain it to remove the plant material (ginger gratings and lime pulp). To get it all out, your might need a jelly bag. Mine still has a small amount of plant material which will generally settle out.
  7. Strain off a cup of your ginger bug liquid and add to the ginger beer.
  8. Pour your soda into bottles (again, I’m a fan of swing tops like these). Allow it to sit in a warm or room temperature spot in your home for 3-5 days.
  9. After 3-5 days of fermentation (watch for bubbles rising!), you will have ginger beer unlike one you’ve ever tasted.

For a solid Dark & Stormy, you’ll need 3 ounces of this (a little less than a half a cup), 2 ounces of dark rum (1/4 cup) (Gosling’s is the traditional brand), and a squeeze of lime juice.  Place ice & all ingredients in a bar glass, stir, and garnish with a lime.  That should chase any early-Fall chill away. 🙂



Probiotic Lactofermented Homemade Soda – Start with Ginger Bug!

Oh man, fermentation.  It’s so fun.  It feels like a science project, fizzes on the tongue, and is actually good for you.  It also has recipes that call for cooling things to “blood temperature” in case you needed to feel more badass than you already do.

This week, I made myself a ginger bug.  Which, once you get used to remembering to feed it, (at least every other day, but better daily) feels like you have a little pet on your counter!  You can even put it to sleep by sticking it in the fridge.  Goodnight, ginger bug!

I love me some Sally Fallon / Nourishing Traditions, and she has a recipe for ginger bug in her beverage chapter (slipped into the ginger beer recipe) as well as some other weird stuff like Sweet Potato Soda and Oat Water.

The general idea of ginger bug is to take a quart sized mason jar and add 3 teaspoons of sugar (white is fine, you won’t be eating this– the BUG will!) and 3 teaspoons of chopped or grated ginger (with skin) to 3 cups of water.  Your bug needs to live in a warmish place (I like the top of the fridge for this – but put it somewhere you won’t forget about it.).  At least every other day add 2 tsp of sugar and 2 more tsp of grated ginger.  You should see bubbles forming within 3 days, which will increase the longer you feed your little bugger.  It’s ready to use as soon as it becomes active, but most sources recommend waiting at least a week.  If you don’t see bubbles (or hear gas escaping when you open it) after 7 days, chuck it out and start again.

If you have grown a ginger bug, but have run out of uses for it – stick it in the fridge.  When you’re ready to use it again, sit it on the counter for three days to reactivate (and feed it while it’s out!)

If you’re out of bug liquid and want to restart it – compost half of the sediment in the bottom, refill the water, and start with the feeding plan again!

I’m making three batches of lacto-fermented sodas to share with you- root beer (my favorite), ginger beer (might want to go out and get some dark rum immediately), and sparkling apple cider.  I’ll be posting the recipes to these every day for the next three.  By the time your bug is ready to use, you’ll have a few recipes at hand to try out!

Enjoy bugging out!



Soda waiting to be ready and a new round of ginger bug growing stronger by the day!