Along the Grapevine

Another Dandelion Gin Fizz? No Whey!


I recently posted a recipe for Dandelion Gin Fizz, a refreshingly light “superdrink” – a term I use advisedly because it is made with lacto-fermentation. Naturally fermented drinks are made with a starter, much as a sourdough bread is. The starter I used for that recipe was whey, perhaps the most common method. Another method is to use a ‘root bug’,  often made with ginger, and fittingly called a ‘ginger bug’. This involves allowing some root and sugar to ferment in non-chlorinated water for a few days in an anaerobic environment (no air) until it becomes fizzy – and delicious. This can be a base for all sorts of soda-type drinks, but so far I have only experimented with dandelion flowers.

I did not have access to a good quality, organic ginger, but read somewhere that any edible root will work. Even dandelion roots, of which I have many high quality, fresh and organic ones available – and they are free.


I followed this recipe for ginger bug, substituting the ginger with dandelion root.




To make the bug, I put 1 Tbsp of clean, chopped dandelion root with an equal amount of sugar in an 8oz mason not quite full of chlorine-free water. Just stir until the sugar dissolves. Every day, add a tsp. each of chopped root and sugar and give it another stir. Cover the jar with a clean cloth (to prevent any bugs of the other sort from getting in). After 3-5 days, you will see a lot of white bubbles forming on top of the liquid. I also taste it each day to see how it is doing. It is slightly sweet, and each day a little bit fizzier.


When it is ready, you will want to add it to your dandelion flower infusion mixed with sugar syrup – all at room temperature. For this batch I had 2 cups of infusion and 1/2 cup of syrup. I added 1/2 cup of ‘bug’ and let it sit for about three days, covered with a cloth and stirring each day. Once it has fizzed up, it can be capped and refrigerated, but with the small amount I was making, we didn’t have any to store. I hope to master the storing process on my next batch.

The remaining root bug can be stored in the fridge, and used for making more by adding more of the same ingredients. I have not yet tried this repeat process either.

To serve, I added 4 oz. of gin and a little lemon to taste, but a non-alcoholic version would work just as well.


I couldn’t detect any difference between this drink and the whey based one in terms of flavour. I intend to try it with other roots and, of course, other flavours. Any readers who have experience with this, I would love to hear what you used and how you made it.



Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

8 thoughts on “Another Dandelion Gin Fizz? No Whey!

  1. What gorgeous colors Hilda! You are a dare devil who wanders in unknown zones, atleast for me and come out as a brave warrior with all hands down wins :).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow that looks delish and you are soooo clever x


  3. I love the title! I agree with Sonal above, you are very adventurous. 🙂


  4. Oh, I have been dying to go pick dandelions, but no time yet. Thank you so much for the inspiration! In the beginning you say anaerobic, but then in your instructions you say cover with a cloth? I hope to harvest our first stinging nettles tomorrow. 🙂 Love stinging nettle soup, but I might dehydrate these.


    • Good point about the cloth. While whatever is fermenting, you can’t completely seal it because the gas has to escape. As long as there is liquid, I guess the air doesn’t get into the mixture. However, there is always a chance of contamination, although haven’t had that problem yet, but will start using my nifty air locks as soon as I get them set up.


  5. This is so cool, Hilda! I have to agree with Sonal and Apsara…you venture into unknown territory, and always come out shining! I’m so impressed by you and the things that you make. Everytime I’m working in my yard and come across dandelions, I think I should stop by your blog to see what I should do with them!! You have me very tempted to try this. 🙂 Awesome post!


  6. Pingback: How to Make Tonic Water | Along the Grapevine

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