Along the Grapevine

Two New Flavours of Ginger Soda

18 Comments

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Recycled beer bottles with flip lids

I am not a fan of commercial soft drinks whatsoever, but once I started making my own from ”bugs’, which are fermented roots (often ginger root) with sugar, I have had great fun making and consuming all sorts of variations of fizzy drinks. Especially after working several hours (or at least what seems like several hours) in the garden, I am rewarded with a tall cool drink of whatever mixture I have fermenting in the kitchen.

The process is really very simple, but it does take a little time. I try to make a couple of bottles a day so that I always have some on hand. Β To begin, I mix a couple of tablespoons of chopped fresh ginger with an equal amount of sugar in about a cup of water in a covered mason jar. Each day I add half that amount of ginger and sugar until the mixture begins to bubble which is around five days, at which point it is ready to make a drink of whatever flavour I want with a second fermentation.

The second part is where the interesting flavours come in, although because it is a ginger bug, there will be a good gingery flavour already. For these drinks I used ginger-friendly fruits, rhubarb for one and sumac for the other.

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You will need flip top bottles for this so that no gas escapes during fermentation. The bottles I used hold two cups so it made measuring easy – 1 3/4 cup sumac or rhubarb juice (descriptions below), 1 tsp sugar (or a little more if you want it sweeter) and 1/4 cup ginger bug. Mix well, bottle and leave to ferment from 2-5 days depending on the temperature of your kitchen and how much sugar you have used. For a first attempt I recommend opening it after two days to see how it’s doing. If there is no ‘pop’ at all when you open it, leave it for another day or two next time, although it will still be very good, just not too bubbly. Because I use little sugar, I like to leave mine for five days to give it a really good fizz, but then I do have to be careful to open it slowly and expect a little to escape. Kind of like opening champagne! If you want it for later, refrigerate it which will slow down any further fermentation – but not stop it all together.

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Sumac drink after five days of fermentation

For the juices, I cooked some chopped rhubarb covered in water with sugar to taste and strained. For the sumac, I simply used water infused with sumac berries.

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Rhubarb drink after two days of fermentation

After you have used the ‘bug’, add water to replace the liquid you have strained out of it, and continue to feed it ginger and sugar daily. Or put it in the fridge and carry on another day. You will have to remove some of the ginger from time time, which I do whenever I am making a soup, dressing or stir-fry into which it goes very nicely.

Linked to: Fiesta Friday # 76

Author: Hilda

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

18 thoughts on “Two New Flavours of Ginger Soda

  1. Finally something I feel comfidant about trying. I’m a big fan of ginger. I find it especially helpful when I have a cold. Do you need to sterilise the bottles or containers in which the bug is fermenting? That’s about ten days of settling. Do you keep it in the fridge the whole time? Sorry for all the questions.πŸ™‚

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    • First, no need to sterilise. Just clean jars and bottles well. The fermentation process kills bad bacteria and grows the good stuff, so no need to worry too much. The fermentation of the ginger bug works well at room temperature (about 18-21 degrees C) and likewise the fermentation of the bottled drink. Only refrigerate when you want to slow down the process, and that’s usually when it is all done. I would start with the small amount I describe to get the process down and figure out the ideal amount of sugar and fermentation time for your kitchen and taste. Once you are comfortable with it you can make larger quantities.I hope you do try it. The ginger flavour is delicious and it’s actually fun to do. If you have any more questions don’t hesitate to ask.

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  2. oh cool – I had this at someones house and promptly forgot about it, but now I can follow your recipe!

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  3. Wonderful. I have disliked soft drinks since childhood, but last summer I started making my own fruit kefir naturally fizzy and not-too-sweet drinks, and made them year round; my kefir grains will celebrate their first birthday in my home in August. I have heard of the ginger “bug”, and definitely want to give it a try! Thanks for sharing.

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    • My pleasure Darya. I hope you do try it. If you like kefir, you will probably enjoy this too. I make mine not very sweet at all, and I expect you would do the same, but it is easy to adjust to one’s own taste. Good for you for keeping your kefir for a whole year.

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  4. Wow wonderful drink Hilda..

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  5. Thanks Hilda. My darling granddaughters are going back home toda. I’ll have a bit more spare time coming up.

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  6. I love anything ginger! It warms the taste buds and the belly! Can’t wait to try this! P.S. I have been eating lily buds NON-STOP, so thank you for my latest addiction. Raw or sauteed, I can’t seem to get enough. The finish reminds of an onion ring which, oh my gourd, what could be better? A healthy plant that TASTES like an onion ring?!! Thank you, as always!

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  7. So interesting Hilda. I’m picturing this ginger soda mixed with beer to make a shandy. And since I have a couple of the flip top bottles (the IKEA ones) I’ll give this a try when I get back from vacation.

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  8. I am saving this post to try some ginger bug soon! I love gingerale.
    I will bug you when I am ready.
    How many tbsp of ginger do you use to begin with?

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  9. Thanks Sonal. A couple of tbsp each of ginger and sugar.

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  10. Pingback: Chicory Root Soda | Along the Grapevine

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

  12. Pingback: Sumac Soda | Along the Grapevine

  13. How wonderful – I’ve bookmarked it for a warmer day …πŸ™‚

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