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Natural Ginger Ale

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How to make natural ginger ale- a healthy and delicious treat full of probiotics and enzymes
Wellness Mama » Blog » Recipes » Drink Recipes » Natural Ginger Ale

It turns out that soda hasn’t always been the high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavor concoction in an aluminum can that we know today.

For hundreds of years (and probably much longer) cultures around the world have made various forms of naturally fermented “sodas” from sweetened herbal teas or fruit juice mixes. These natural fermented drinks contained beneficial enzymes and probiotics to boost health and were a far cry from the unhealthy versions we have today.

This version uses a fermented ginger culture to create a naturally fizzy soda! Ginger is a delicious herb that has been used in many cultures for its health-boosting properties. From my herb profile of ginger:

Ginger has been used in Chinese Medicine for thousands of years and is said to help:

  • Soothe digestive disturbances
  • Alleviate nausea (great in early pregnancy)
  • Reduce fever
  • Calm coughing and respiratory troubles
  • Stimulate the circulatory system
  • Help relieve muscle aches and pain
  • Can help get rid of dandruff
  • Emerging evidence shows it helps lower cholesterol
  • Japanese research has found ginger is effective in lowering blood pressure and cancer risk

This natural recipe for ginger ale uses fresh ginger and a cultured ginger mixture (called a ginger bug) to create a naturally fermented and naturally fizzy ginger ale. Though this mixture can contain a small amount of alcohol if left to ferment at room temperature for weeks, we use the short brew method to create a fizzy soda without the alcohol.

Delicious Ginger Ale

Homemade ginger ale is soothing for digestive disturbances and contains probiotics and enzymes. As with any fermented product, I’d suggest starting with a small amount (4 ounce or so) and working up, as all the probiotics and enzymes can cause an upset stomach in those who aren’t used to consuming fermented products. I found small amounts of this mixture helpful in early pregnancy and any time one of us has an upset stomach, to ward off nausea. It also just tastes great!

This recipe makes 2 quarts of natural ginger ale, though the recipe can be adjusted up or down by using a ratio of ¼ cup sugar and ¼ cup ginger bug starter per 1 quart of water.

How to make natural ginger ale- a healthy and delicious treat full of probiotics and enzymes

Homemade Ginger Ale Recipe

A naturally fermented old-fashioned ginger ale (also once called ginger beer) that contains beneficial probiotics and enzymes.
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 2 days 7 minutes
Calories 53kcal
Author Katie Wells

Servings

2 quarts

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Make a “wort” for your ginger ale by placing 3 cups of the water, minced ginger root, sugar, molasses if needed, and salt in a saucepan and bringing to a boil.
  • Simmer the mixture for about five minutes until sugar is dissolved and mixture starts to smell like ginger.
  • Remove from heat and add additional water. This should cool it but if not, allow it to cool to room temperature before moving to the next step.
  • Add fresh lemon or lime juice and ginger bug or whey.
  • Transfer to a 2 quart glass mason jar with an air-tight lid. Stir well and put lid on.
  • Leave on the counter for 2-3 days until carbonated. Watch this step carefully. Using whey will cause it to ferment more quickly. It should be bubble and should “hiss” like a soda when the lid is removed. This is very temperature dependent and the mixture may need to be burped or stirred during this fermentation time on the counter.
  • Transfer to refrigerator where it will last indefinitely.
  • Strain before drinking.
  • Enjoy!

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Homemade Ginger Ale Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 53
% Daily Value*
Sodium 159mg7%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Fiber 0.1g0%
Sugar 13.7g15%
Protein 0.2g0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Notes

As with any traditional fermented drink, this is more of an art than a science. The outcome depends greatly on the strength of your culture, the temperature of your house, and the sugar used. The final mixture should smell of ginger and slightly of yeast/fermentation and should be fizzy. Watch carefully that it doesn’t become too carbonated as this will cause too much pressure and may result in an exploding jar! 
The mixture can be strained and transferred to Grolsch style bottles before putting in the refrigerator. 

Like this recipe? Check out my new cookbook, or get all my recipes (over 500!) in a personalized weekly meal planner here!

Have you ever made a naturally fermented drink like ginger ale, kombucha, or water kefir? What is your favorite? Share below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.

Comments

443 responses to “Natural Ginger Ale”

  1. Stan Thomas Avatar
    Stan Thomas

    First time trying this recipe and I’ve failed to gain any fizz. Any ideas how to promote more carbonation? Thanks.

    1. Kristi Mathews Avatar
      Kristi Mathews

      Hey Stan! Have you tried increasing the amount of the ginger bug? That’s what I had to do.

  2. Kristi Mathews Avatar
    Kristi Mathews

    5 stars
    Hey Katie, I would really like you to taste my ginger ale I make. Are you in the US?

  3. Joanna Avatar
    Joanna

    Do I need to transfer the ginger wort to glass container BEFORE I add the ginger bug or will it be ok hanging out in the cooled stainless steel stock pot while I work on transferring to glass bottles? I wanted to make sure I don’t harm the bug bacteria by having it come into contact with metal.

  4. Dorothy Avatar

    I’m making for first time. There’s 8 cups in 2 quarts. There’s more than 9 cups of ingredients in recipe. Should the recipe use 7 cups of water instead of 8 cups?

  5. Joanne Avatar

    My ginger bug worked out great and I was so looking forward to a wonderful batch of ginger ale. But, today I discovered I have white, powdery mold on the top of the ginger ale. My husband poked a straw through and tried a small sip – he said it was great. I tried a small sip and thought it tasted wonky (maybe the mold threw me off). In any case, what did I do wrong? Any ideas? I threw out the ginger ale (didn’t trust it and couldn’t find anything in comments about mold).

    1. Kimberly Avatar
      Kimberly

      Kahm yeast. Perfected natural. Remove and go on.
      Ya know. Mold always gets a bad wrap, yet y’all devour cheese.

  6. Gina Avatar

    What does everyone use for the straining step? I have a fine mesh strainer but a lot of gunk gets through. I don’t mind it but I like to give bottles away as gifts:)

    1. Kristi Mathews Avatar
      Kristi Mathews

      A fine mesh first, then a coffee filter in the fine mesh. Sometimes I don’t mind giving it less filtered as a gift and then explain if they don’t refrigerate it it will continue to grow and carbonate into a bomb or they can refrigerate it and then just don’t drink the bottom good beer you don’t drink the bottom anyways plus if you mix it with vodka you don’t need to worry about any of that stuff because you just drink all of it cuz you’re drunk LOL just kidding

  7. Teresa Avatar

    Wouldn’t water kefir be a better than whey for a substitute in this recipie?

  8. Debrs Avatar

    Does anyone know how long it takes for the fermentation to start if you used whey

    1. Kristi Mathews Avatar
      Kristi Mathews

      I have done both and while whey is a much quicker process, like overnight it starts so fast, the flavor is Better using the bug

  9. Sharon Avatar
    Sharon

    After using some of the ginger bug, do I add more water to it as I keep feeding it sugar and ginger?

    1. Kristi Mathews Avatar
      Kristi Mathews

      Or put it in the fridge. I actually use all of the bug for each batch

  10. Cid Avatar

    5 stars
    Thanks so much for the great recipe. I think I made a huge mistake when giving it a try. I accidentally added my Ginger but, to the sugar and ginger before simmering it on the stove. Can I still try to ferment this into Ginger Ale without the cooking process?

  11. Opal Avatar

    5 stars
    Question about the time on the counter. Will it carbonate if I use one of those rubber nipple insert things for the cap of my mason jar? Kind of a burps itself thing…

  12. Tommy Avatar

    Can you use some of the ginger ale as starter liquid to make the next batch of ginger ale instead of using liquid from the ginger bug again? thanks!

  13. Jo Avatar

    I AGREE WITH YOUR WARNING AGAINST USING HONEY TO FEED
    Over the years I have killed both a Kombucha Culture(schovy?) and a Sweet sourdough type culture—
    All because I fed them with honey (trying to avoid using sugar)
    I had no problems when using sugar.

    1. Dallas Avatar

      I have used my homegrown pure stevia instead of sugar. Worked great and just results in a darker color since the ground stevia is green.

      1. Caroline Arcand-Wright Avatar
        Caroline Arcand-Wright

        I grow and dry my own too. Might I ask how much dried stevia you used? Thanks …

        1. Dallas Avatar

          I used about a teaspoon for every cup of sugar required in recipe. It was plenty sweet.

    1. Toni Avatar

      I was wondering the same thing. I’m sensitive to lemon juice, so I was thinking of omitting it entirely. Did you try this out without it?

  14. Opal Avatar

    Well that’s what I’m doing wrong. I’ve been boiling ginger.. chilling it then putting it in a soda siphon to make the bubbles. I had no idea about the lemon juice and prefer it unsweetened.

  15. Astrid Durham Avatar
    Astrid Durham

    I eat a lot of pineapple, so I’ve been making tepache and I love it. I use the rinds, plenty of ginger, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns and panela.

  16. Jaime Avatar

    5 stars
    Excellent! This is my go to recipe for making Ginger Ale. I use a Ginger Bug to ferment the ale. I also use plain sugar with unsulphered molasses which contributes to the great flavor. I don’t strain out the ginger–it helps settle my stomach.

  17. Katherine Avatar
    Katherine

    Hello! I have been drinking ginger ale to combat pregnancy morning sickness, but I don’t like drinking the artificial colors and the corn syrup. Is this recipe safe for expecting mamas?

  18. Sharon Avatar

    I had great success with my first batch of ginger ale by following the ginger bug and ginger ale recipes. It had very little fizz but a great taste. I was pleased. I left my bug on the counter, fed it daily with ginger and sugar, but no water as the recipe does not say to add water. I made my second wort and bottled it as directed. When I was ready to put it into my smaller bottles, I tasted it. It has no fizz at all and it is very strong and vinegar (for lack of a better word). I bottled it and added a teaspoon of sugar to each 16 ounce bottle. I’m not expecting great things.
    Having read lots of posts and replies, I understand that the fizz is a tricky thing and I’m not concerned about that. I am wondering what has happened to my bug. It smells faintly like go get and yeast, has no fizz and tastes bad.

    1. Vari Avatar

      4 stars
      Loved the ginger bug recipe! Worked perfectly and goi g string on 4 weeks now. The ginger ale worked great as well, very fuzzy within a day or so, but I simply can’t get over how salty it is. Anyone else have the same experience?

  19. Mary Sue Sylwestrzak Avatar
    Mary Sue Sylwestrzak

    I am confused…8 cups water + 1/2 C bug + 1/2 C lemon/lime juice will not fit into a 2 qt (8 C) jar.

    1. Kristi Mathews Avatar
      Kristi Mathews

      I know you asked this A long time ago, not sure if you figured it out. Simmering for 5 min evaporates or reduces the liquid and personally I strain all the stuff out so it fits pretty close.

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