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


2 quarts



  • 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 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.


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. 

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


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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.


443 responses to “Natural Ginger Ale”

  1. Jan Avatar

    I can’t help but notice that in the ingredients list it says 8 cups of water but in the recipe you only use three. is that a typo or am I missing something?

    1. Jamie Campbell Avatar
      Jamie Campbell

      it’s three cups for the wort, followed by adding another five after the wort simmering is done, for eight cups in total

  2. Ashley Avatar

    I want to verify the part about this ginger ale causing an upset stomach if you drink too much right away. I drank a tall glass the first day because it was so delicious, and a short glass the second day, and by that evening (yesterday) I was having terrible bowel problems and all day today have had bloating and gas. I don’t want to blame the ginger ale unfairly, but that’s the only thing I can think to attribute it to, and I can’t say I wasn’t warned. It tastes so good on a hot day, though!

    1. michael gazzerro Avatar
      michael gazzerro

      Are you drinking the sludge at the bottom?

      Your hunch that it was the ginger was somewhat correct. It’s actually what the ginger harbors…wild microorganisms. The “ginger bug” is actually a method of harvesting the most important one, the wild yeast, still on the ginger (so don’t wash your ginger or you’ll kill your precious yeast.) The beauty and downside to harvesting wild strains is that it’s a crapshoot what you get. You’re also harvesting bacteria and whatever else happens to be there, so if you’re not liking your final product, source your ginger from a different location and you may get wildly different results.

      Eating too much live yeast will give you the runs. To avoid this, leave your bottles upright for a week or so when you’re finished and *then* place them in the refrigerator upright for a few more days. The cool temperature will tell your yeast it’s time to go to bed. Putting your yeast in cold conditions so should cause the yeast to stop their log phase (nom nom nom) and then flocculate (clump up and fall to the bottom…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.) This induced hybernation causes them to conk out and fall to the bottom (scientific term.)

      Alternatively, you may reach your desired results by using less sugar, reducing the total amount of expended yeast. Using less sugar may be necessary for the strain of wild yeast you harvested. To the best of my knowledge using less yeast will have no effect on the final quantity of yeast in your solution, as they simply reproduce to fill any available space.

      Serve your beverage from a drinking glass instead of your fermentation vessel, gently pouring it to prevent your yeast cake on the bottom from being stirred up.


      1. Ashley Avatar

        Thanks for the great info! I have continued drinking that same batch, in smaller quantities and less often, and haven’t had any more tummy troubles.

      2. Bunny Avatar

        You sound like you know your ginger lol

        Have you ever ended up with a mother in your ginger ale? I just made my third batch last month
        I decided to ferment some of it a bit longer.
        I am trying to copy James Verner’s ginger ale recipe, he made a batch, placed it in an oak barrel then went of to fight the war of northern aggression. He was gone five years, according to the story he ended up with a great tasting ginger ale.

        I decided to ferment mine for a month, about three weeks in my ginger was growing a mother very much like raw apple cider vinegar, I make that too.

        The ginger ale tastes great, beautifully fermented, I used a lot more ginger bug with this batch. I used organic ginger, and added clove, cinnamon, cardamom and lemon.
        Just curious as to whether you ever had this happen, or heard of this happening
        Have a great day

  3. Ashley Avatar

    Is the salt for flavor, or is it vital to the process? I liked it, but thought it tasted just a TAD too salty.

    1. Meghan Avatar

      I just had to throw mine out because I got hit with salt and lime that nearly made me sick. Not a very good first run when I feel like I’m missing a shot of tequila. I’m not sure if I will try it again or not.

      1. Ashley Avatar

        I used lemon instead of lime because I thought it seemed like it would go better with ginger, but I don’t really taste the lemon. I read a comment on another website from someone who made it without salt and it came out fine.

        1. Meghan Avatar

          Good to know! I still have my ginger bug and a fresh piece of ginger root, so maybe I will try it again.

    2. Jamie Campbell Avatar
      Jamie Campbell

      I suspect that the salt is less about flavor and more about a hotter wort to better simmer the ginger (since salt has the effect of increasing the boiling temperature of water). I suspect you can try dropping the salt, it might just somewhat decrease the ginger intensity in the final flavour. I’m just guessing at that though, so you should take my thoughts with a grain of salt, no pun intended…

  4. Susie J Avatar
    Susie J

    Just wondering, some recipes say the first ferment should last for up to 3 days, with the lid loose, to allow the probiotics to be created. Then, you strain it and put it into sealed bottles to create carbonation for 24 hours, before transferring to fridge. Does your way still give enough time to create probiotics? I guess I’m not sure how it works — do you need the lid loose or tight for that to happen.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      Probiotics can be created either way but carbonation can only be created with a tight lid…

      1. Robin Avatar

        Really struggling to get carbonated Ginger Ale. Made a “Ginger bug” with no problem at all – nice and yeasty/bubbly. Have tried two batches to make Ginger Ale, but it does nothing 🙁
        I have tried raw sugar and also white castor sugar, but the lemon juice is bottled – should it be freshly squeezed maybe?. I am in a hot country with my kitchen typically at 30degC, could this be “killing” the secondary process? HELP please…..

        1. Wellness Mama Avatar
          Wellness Mama

          It shouldn’t be killing it… are you capping tightly?

          1. Robin Avatar

            I am using Kilner-type jars,but maybe they don’t seal properly? If I decant what I have into different jars/bottles, will it still ferment, or must I start again?

        2. Barry Avatar

          If you are using bottled lemon juice it has all sorts of nasty things in it to stop it from going rancid in the bottle.

          1. Dan Avatar

            5 stars
            Bottled lemon juice has preservatives in it. The preservatives kill the process instantly. (I found this out the hard way, with a failed batch, changing only the lemons solved the problem) Freshly squeezed lemons only. Anything with preservatives in will not work.

  5. Meghan Avatar

    I couldn’t believe how easy this was. Making the ginger bug was definitely the “hardest” part, and even that was just a matter of seconds a day to feed it. I was able to brew and bottle while doing other things, and then just left it to carbonate until it went into the fridge. Quick, easy, and delicious!

  6. Virginia Miner Avatar
    Virginia Miner

    Made it. Love it. So does Jr. and the Mr.
    Do you have any suggestions for flavor variations? I would like to try something cream soda-like with vanilla.

  7. Robin Avatar

    can I bottle the ginger ale and keep it out of the refrigerator in a cool place?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      Yes, just check for pressure and release as needed so the bottle don’t burst

      1. Amelia Avatar

        5 stars
        This is the step that is making me nervous. My ginger bug was starting to bubble on Day 2, and I have a pretty warm kitchen (no AC). So, I’m a bit worried about how fast it may carbonate. How do you tell when to open it and release the pressure before the glass explodes? Do you have a particular fermenting jug you recommend?

        I wish there was like a mini pressure cooker device for this – and maybe there is – but like a pressure canner that if the pressure gets to be too much, there’s a rubber release that pops out. Is there anything like that so I don’t have to worry about my mason jar exploding? Also, is there any concern for exploding once it’s bottled and put in the fridge, or will carbonation basically cease from the cold after that?
        Thanks! (From an obvious newbie!)

        1. Pam Avatar

          5 stars
          I used no special venting. Just Mason jar and kept at 80°F, opening them twice a day.
          The bubbling in the wort I made (and this was my first ever attempt at anything carbonated) was not overwhelming.
          BUT….addressing your second concern, the carbonation (in mine) continues even after refrigerating the final product. The second bottle (I put them in 16 ounce growlers) I luckily had the foresight to open in the sink and nearly half of it bubbled over and went down the drain. This was totally unexpected. Next one I’ll be opening it in a bowl in the sink!

  8. Tamara Avatar

    I’m at the point of leaving the ginger ale for 2-3 days. But it isn’t getting fizzy. I have “burped” the bottle for fear of it bursting, but there hasn’t been any gas release.
    What am I missing? Should I add more ginger bug?

    1. Tamara Avatar

      Could it be because I used sucanat as my sugar in the wort? I doubt it because it IS sugar. But…?
      Do I need to throw out my gingerale or can I save it? Add more sugar? Add more bug? Help!

      1. alicia Avatar

        I’m having the same issue too! I used organic cane sugar though. It seems to be getting slightly fizzy but you have to put your ear up to it and really listen. Mine’s been sitting for 5 days. My ginger bug is healthy so that’s not the issue. I don’t think … I did try to make strawberry “soda” and that didn’t get fizzy either. So maybe it is the bug? Anyway, I’m making a new batch as we speak and I’m trying sucanat this time.

        1. Ben Avatar

          im having the same issues… does anyone have any kind of advise?? i am lost, my ginger ale is out for three days and not even a hint of bubbles…

          1. Franchesca Avatar

            5 stars
            I had mine in my laundry room where it’s very cool. and it was doing nothing. i brought it into my warm kitchen one evening, thinking to just throw it out & start over. I didn’t get to it till the next morning & overnight it had started to finally start bubbling! So, you could try putting it in a warmer place/

    2. Lisa Avatar

      The first time I made it I had to let mine ferment out of the fridge for a full week before it got fizzy. You know how you get that sediment that settles on the bottom, I found that if I turned the bottle upside down and then right side up and kind of allowed that to mix back into the beverage once a day, the fermentation sped up a little… This is a great recipe, it just took longer for the fermentation for me. I live at the Jersey Shore and I did this in the summer so it’s warm and humid here. I didn’t have it near an air conditioning vent and I had it on the opposite side of the room from my kombucha…

    3. Jamie Campbell Avatar
      Jamie Campbell

      If no carbonation is happening my recommendation would be to use hotter liquid for the final step. If it’s too hot it will kill the culture and you won’t get any carbonation happening, but, if it’s near the upper end of “won’t kill the culture” then the result will instead be more powerful fermenting action. The recipe above is what most people should be following (letting the wort cool down substantially), specifically because otherwise it really does end up ale-ish (two of my batches have been way too strong due to being too impatient to wait as long as I should have). But, if you’re getting no activity at all then give higher temperatures a try. I’m not sure the exact temperatures I’ve been using but generally, if the water is hot enough to be painful for you, then it will almost definitely kill the culture. If the water is warm enough that you could comfortably bath in it for a while, then the culture should be ok (with possible risk of it being “overactive”, but if it’s not doing any carbonation for you it’s worth trying). If you could bath in it but it would be uncomfortable, then it may or may not kill the culture but probably best not to risk that much heat level.

      Another thing I should mention is you should definitely, *definitely* check in on the pressure if you’re using warmer liquid since stronger fermenting action will also mean more rapid accumulation of pressure and greater risk of the container exploding.

    4. Mike W. Avatar

      I’m in a similar situation. I used whey (as linked above) instead of the ginger bug but after 3 days there’s been NO fermentation. I’ve got the mixture sitting on my counter in a plastic 2 liter bottle at room temperature. I check the pressure on the bottle daily by squeezing it. It hasn’t increased at all.

      Could the whey have been bad? I followed the linked recipe for collecting whey from organic full fat yogurt. Is there some way to check the whey to confirm that it is good for fermenting?


      1. Sarah Avatar

        Every fermenting site or book I’ve read always says to never use plastic. Only glass.

  9. Rusket Avatar

    I would love to make ginger ale, but alas, I do not understand the measurements. I found a converting site, but I need to know whether your cups and quarts are british or american! And tsp, does that mean teaspoon or tablespoon?

    1. Ken Avatar

      It is my assumption that the measurements are in American values since reading the site shows me no British style verbiage. There are clear differences reading American and British interpretations of English that I find evident when I, as an American read a British web site. It’s all good, no criticism but this site appears American to me.

      Also, even in quart measurements, the difference between British and American only swings a little more than ten percent. With this recipe not being for baked goods, I don’t think absolute precision is required.

      With measurements stated as “1-2 inch piece of ginger”…its obvious this is not rocket science. Even the ginger bug recipe states 2-3 tablespoons of ginger…that’s a 1/3 to 1/2 ratio swing of an ingredient.

      I think you would be fine using your British measurement tools.

    2. Brad Read Avatar
      Brad Read

      Hi Rusket, try watching YouTube videos showing people making these concoctions. You will be able to see what size the measurements look like. I think it would make more sense to you.

  10. Mik Avatar

    I like the sound of this but my gosh a lot of work and time for a drink.

    1. Virginia Miner Avatar
      Virginia Miner

      It’s not really that bad. Once your bug is healthy, the time it takes to brew a batch is negligible and can be done while doing other necessary things in your kitchen.

    2. Ashley Avatar

      I thought it sounded like a lot of work, too, but I don’t think I actually spent more than ten minutes of actual work at any one point. It’s a fun project, and the result is delicious.

    3. Jamie Campbell Avatar
      Jamie Campbell

      Once the bug is going it’s about the same amount of work as making tea — basically, you ARE making tea followed by adding some culture to it. The only difference is with most tea you wouldn’t do the “simmer for a bit” part.

    4. Lorraine Avatar

      It is a lot of work. I tried something very similar. Love the idea of it, don’t like the work of it. I am not sure mine turned out all that well either.

  11. emily Avatar

    Since the ginger bug can be used to make other sodas, does anyone have a good recipe for creme soda, perhaps using the ginger bug?

  12. Leah Robinson Avatar
    Leah Robinson

    Thank you for this recipe, as well as the Ginger Bug recipe! I just made 3 batches of this and it is now sitting out for the 2-3 days. If you strain into bottles after leaving on the counter for 2-3 days, will it lose it’s carbonation or will it re-carbonate in the fridge?
    Thanks again and I can’t wait to try it!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      You typically strain the ginger from the bug before placing the the secondary and just add the liquid, but you should be able to strain and have it keep its carbonation as long as it has been tightly capped the whole time.

      1. Amy Avatar

        4 stars
        Sorry for the reply on an old thread, I’m new here! I’ve made a couple of batches this way and I have a problem with the carbonation as well. It carbonates fine out on the counter, however when I funnel into bottle, it fizzes up and seems to lose it carbonation that way; sort of like when a soda can explodes.

        Do you know how to do this transfer into the bottles without the carbonation fizzing out during the process? I’ve tried going slower and still have the same issue. Otherwise I love this recipe, taste great but more carbo would be even better!

        1. Amanda Avatar

          Pour slowly and preferably along the side of the bottle. Like a bartender pours a beer.

          Or you van use a hose like when bottling vine. Once the mouth of the hose is under the surface it should not fizz as much.

          1. Keith Avatar

            I have poured the wort and the bug into individual bottles and let it ferment in the bottles. Another tactic I want to try is to let the bug ferment in a 1/2 gallon jar, then pour it into individual bottles that have 1/2 t. of sugar in each and try a second fermentation in the bottle.

          2. Stacey Doney Avatar
            Stacey Doney

            I’ve just put this recipe in the 2 qt jar, can’t wait to try it! As to carbonation Amanda was asking about in my kombucha making experience you can’t fill the bottles all the way to the top or there’s not enough space for the carbonation to build. If I understood what you were asking.

          1. Haplo Avatar

            4 stars
            Traces yes, but not so much you can measure it. Fir that you would need to ferment it for weeks.

      2. Kim Eastman Avatar
        Kim Eastman

        4 stars
        I just made my first batch. After I made my ginger bug and poured in my two mason jars I didn’t strain it I guess so there is a lot of ginger sediment in my ginger ale. Can this be added back to my ginger bug and also if I keep the ginger bug in the fridge, when i feed it adding ginger and sugar, do I also add water?
        thank you for your help.

        1. Brad Read Avatar
          Brad Read

          Hi Kim, if you are feeding just to maintain your bug I would add one tablespoon sugar, one tablespoon minced ginger and one tablespoon water weekly. I make one quart batches. I use one quarter cup ginger bug per quart then replace it with one quarter cup water and two tablespoons of sugar and two tablespoons of ginger. Then I return it to the fridge. I wouldn’t add the sediment from the ginger ale back to the bug.

  13. Sarah Barnette Avatar
    Sarah Barnette

    When replenishing the bug, do you add more water along with the sugar and ginger?

  14. Abby Avatar

    A word of caution about ginger in pregnancy: my understanding is that it has abortifacient properties, and should be avoided in any significant quantities in early pregnancy, particularly if you have a history of miscarriage. It is a frequent ingredient in prenatals, too, because of its ability to sooth the stomach, but some may want to avoid it entirely!

    1. Miyo Avatar

      5 stars
      I just want to clarify ginger has been shown to be safe in pregnancy, and ACOG’s official statement about it says that ginger is a safe alternative option for the treatment of nausea during pregnancy, although studies have been limited (as with ALL medicinal uses of herbs!).

      1. Hana Kroma Avatar
        Hana Kroma

        5 stars
        First, I just finished my first ginger brew. Cheers, Wellness Mama- it’s amazing. I really appreciate the recipes you post!!!

        And, in reply to Abby and Miyo,

        from personal experience and extensive reading (ie: Hygieia: A WOMAN’S HERBAL, Susun Weed, etc) I’ve found ginger to effectively bring on a mense, as well as to cause miscarriage and/or bleeding in early pregnancy – and I mean the first 8 weeks.

        Every woman’s body is different, but it is possible to affect pregnancy with ginger – in large amounts – such as over a pound of crystallized ginger.

        So, although it may for some of us cause bleeding or bring on a mense, for others it may not. Start with small amounts and ginger is amazing for pain relief during menstruation, bringing on a stalled mense, and for pain relief in birth.

        Ginger is also known to thin blood slightly, part of why it works well with uterus, but also can cause more bleeding in labor if taken within an hour of birthing. Also, it can help to effectively lower blood pressure.

        There’s lots of research happening in Japan on the positive effects on the blood and circulation, as well as ginger possibly reducing cancer risks. 🙂

        Enjoy! And if pregnant, take cautiously if you’re not familiar with ginger. It can be extremely effective in prevention or management of nausea, but is a strong plant medicine and should be regarded as such.

      2. David Avatar

        5 stars
        Ok, then my question is would ginger ale be good for pregnant women? My wife is 3 months into her pregnancy and drinks a cup of water with ginger and lemon every morning for nausea and she has been ok. I just want to make sure the fermented drink is also ok before i make it.

  15. lyss Avatar

    Ok, so is there a significant alcohol content in this? I’m a little leery since it’s been called “beer”. I’m all about healthy probiotics, but how do I know I’m not making an alcoholic drink?! Or would it have to ferment for much longer than just a few days to be of concern? Slight content might be ok, but I’m a bit scared of making fermented drinks, because I won’t know if I’ve made alcohol, which I don’t drink, and I most certainly would not want to give to my kids…

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      My hubby brews beer at home so we have the equipment to measure alcohol content. According to the reading I took right before it went in the fridge it had no or negligible alcohol (less than an over-ripe banana). As long as it is put in the fridge when it has carbonated, the alcohol content should not increase. Most beers take 4-6 weeks of fermentation to get their alcohol content…

      1. Dan Avatar

        So if you let it ferment for the 4-6 weeks, you can make an actual alcoholic ginger beer? If so do you need to keep burping it? I just made my first batch this morning using organic ginger, lemons and sugar. I didn’t have a glass bottle, I had to use plastic, within 4 hours the plastic was completely expanded and I had to burp it for I was afraid it would explode. Fizzed all the way up to the opening and almost came out. Should it go in the fridge already?

      2. don dimen Avatar
        don dimen

        hello, I make root beer drinks etc. im interested in these recipe’s like the root beer
        ginger ale dr. pepper. in a 4 gallon mix
        to approx. make 50 beer bottle worth.. any thoughts.
        so what is the correct amount of ingredients for this quantity.

    2. Patsy Avatar

      5 stars
      Study the life cycle of yeast to know about alcohol in these brews. Catch it early, and the alcohol will indeed be minimal, but then the carbon dioxide (fizz) will also be less. The byproducts of the yeast growth are alcohol and carbon dioxide. If you have fizz, you have alcohol.

  16. Kenny Avatar

    I drank Ginger root tea 1 inch ginger root cheese graded into like cheese , 2 tea spoons of honey and 1 tea spoon of lemon juice for 1 month an it lowered my Blood pressure an my CHOL. over 40 points i am no longer under doctors care

    1. Kevin Avatar

      This is interesting since I am trying to get my BP under control. During that month did you make any other dietary or lifestyle changes?

  17. Marisa Marino Avatar
    Marisa Marino

    Could you add keifer whey to the fermenting ginger culture?

    1. Kevin Avatar

      I did this recently (actually I skimmed the foam off a drink I made with milk kefir whey) and it looks like there’s much more active microbial activity vs my control in which I just used the ginger and its natural yeast. But I can’t say for sure.

    1. Pema Sony-la Avatar
      Pema Sony-la

      Here are my thoughts about the sugar in this recipe. First, the purpose of sugar in a ferment is to feed the good bacteria & allow them to proliferate. Second, there are 24 teaspoons in a half cup of sugar. Putting that into 8 cups of water means there could potentially be a max of 3 teaspoons of sugar/cup of ginger ale. (Obviously that is far less sugar tyan you’ll find in any commercial soda.) Lastly, there won’t be that much sugar in this finished product because the probiotic bacteria are going to consume a lot of the sugar as this mixture ferments.

      Honey is not a good alternative because honey has antibacterial properties that will work against the fermentation process. I don’t think that stevia is a good option to feed the good bacteria, which again is the process we are working to foster here.
      In my opinion it is best to use sucanat or rapadura as alternatives to refined sugar in fermenting foods. I hope this helps!

      1. Candy South Avatar
        Candy South

        Question-Where did you hear about honey killing the good bacteria? I use raw honey all of the time to make fruit mead which is just a fermented fruit drink. I learned how to make it from the book “The Art of Fermentation” by Sandor Ellix Katz. He has some awesome and interesting stories about native peoples making honey fermented drinks. So for my experience I would think that honey might really work. It would be worth experimenting with anyway. 🙂

        BTW-This is a great looking recipe and I am going to try it! 🙂

        1. Russ Fae Avatar
          Russ Fae

          I make mead on a regular basis, what you are making is a melomel(sp) the natural sugars in the fruit content is what allows the yeast to ferment it. One a culture is going strong then it can handle the honey but if you try to ferment the honey by its self without anything else to feed the bacteria you will seldom be successful in getting it to start. Hope that clears this up a bit.

          1. Jeana Avatar

            5 stars
            I make mead too! Just started this year actually. I was just saying yesterday that I would love to make a ginger mead and an anise star mead. I make the quick, cheating, counter top, 1 gallon, balloon style haha. I use regular bread yeast, raisin and fruits, honey and water. I was wondering if the alcohol would be strong enough to pull a significant amount of the medicinal quality out of the herbs/roots. Eventually, I will get carboys and whatnot. I think I might try a ginger root mead.

        2. Mara Avatar

          Once upon a time I did make ginger ale using 50:50 raw sugar:honey (vol:vol). It brewed very quickly (too quickly, explosively) and had an unappealing and bitter taste (it was a strongly flavoured honey). I wouldn’t reccommend it.

        3. Mel Avatar

          I have successfully killed my kombucha culture using honey. Mead is made by ADDing yeast, whereas ferments are made using the natural bacteria found on the ginger or plant you are fermenting. If you are using good, raw honey it will have antibacterial properties that will weaken your culture and learn the probiotic effect. If you cook the honey first you might have a chance but then you will lose any benefit of using honey.

        4. Qaauz Avatar

          4 stars
          I only know, that honey when added to water, ferments. Difficult and dangerous to bottle in the long term.
          I do use its fermentation aspect with various odd brews I , mm, ‘throw together’, but for a good ginger beer, I had issues with taste, changing taste due to continued fermentation, and ! Exploded Grolsch bottle and plastic. Hopeless and downright dangerous.

      2. Charles Sifers Avatar
        Charles Sifers

        Honey is a perfectly acceptable substitute for “sugar”. Honey only inhibits microbial growth in it’s natural state, due to it’s hygroscopic nature which is diluted when it is added to water or fruit juice, and some honeys will ferment on their own if the bees haven’t dried it completely.
        I’ve been making award winning mead (melomels, hydromels, metheglins) for 20 years, so I have a bit of experience with this particular process.
        Honey will give a better flavor, as well.

        1. Jen Avatar

          Honey should work fine. When you make mead, the guys at the home-brew supply shop suggest using double the amount of yeast you’d use for the same amount of beer or wine, in order to ovecome the honey’s bacteriocidal tendencies; I’ve always done that and I’ve never had a bit of trouble. I would imagine the same thing might apply here: if you’re using honey, you might think about using a bit more of the ginger bug, maybe twice as much. It probably isn’t even necessary, but it wouldn’t hurt anything and might help.

      3. Brittany Avatar

        What about coconut palm sugar instead of cane sugar for the ginger bug? Or brown sugar?

        1. Sarah Avatar

          I would assume that just following the recipe will be your best bet for results. I feel sorry for food bloggers when they get a million questions about all of the possible alternatives to be used and in what ratio – yadda yadda!!! We have made this ginger ale multiple times with great success. JUST FOLLOW THE RECIPE PEOPLE!

          1. Prarthana Avatar

            @Sarah- I think you need to be a little considerate and understand that not all parts of the world carry the 101 options available to you! Where I’m from, people have not even heard about rapadura let alone it being available in the market. When this the casw anyone who is not a master at making these foods will want alternatives and might not be confident about using it without clearing their doubts.

          2. Korina Avatar

            Agreed!! If people want to explore alternatives just do it..don’t bother the kind person who has shared their recipe.
            I am very interested in trying to make this recipe..have some reserve though.. It seems somewhat complicated and I have not been so skilled in the ways of the culinary worlds not the past….

          3. Linda Avatar

            Unfortunately, “just following the recipe” is not always an option for everyone, as Prarthana points out. Additionally, when dealing with air collected cultures, like a ginger bug or a sourdough starter, following the recipe doesn’t give the same results every time, as so much is dependent on the environment. I followed this recipe exactly, and ended up with poor results. Probably because of the type of yeast I collected in my ginger bug was not the ideal type for this recipe. Because of this, trying alternatives is a must until each person finds what works for them in their environment. There is nothing wrong with asking about what other people have tried whether they were successful or not. These discussions help everyone reading. The food bloggers can choose to answer each question if they want, or leave it up to others who are interested to join the discussion (as we can see here, many people jump in to answer the questions). That is the point of the comments section…

          4. Barry Avatar

            5 stars
            Hi, You are so right, If it is not broken why try to fix it.

            This ginger ale works well and tastes as I remember it as a young boy.

            This recipe is 5 star and my family thanks you for it.

          5. Bob J. Lathim Avatar
            Bob J. Lathim

            Some people such as myself are Diabetic and therefore looking fo a safe alternative so your comment was rude to say the least.

      4. Russ Trew Avatar
        Russ Trew

        That’s really interesting, thanks – I’m type 2 diabetic and wondered about the sugar content in the end product.

        1. Dr Kyle Avatar

          The sugar is about the care and feeding of the microbes not about the recipe itself. there really are few options that will work as there is no such thing as diabetic microbes. you can try using less sugar and fermenting longer to lower the sugar content then adding stevia at the end to restore some sweetness but it will not work if you use anything but some form of fermentable sugar. there are many fermentable sugars but the one thing that they all have in common is that they are sugar which of course should be limited with diabetics.

          I have not tried this recipe but as a physician have a fair amount of knowledge of biology. I have successfully made kombucha.

          Dr Kyle

      5. Mimi Avatar

        I make Water Kefir daily. The kefir bacteria eats the sugar in the solution and so when you go to drink it, there is little to no left in it, that is also why you must add sugar to feed the bug. I use Stevia to sweeten my WK AFTER the second ferment, and not until I put it in my glass to drink. that way, I’m not getting the sugar, not ruining my WK, but am getting the sweet I desire without the calories or empty carbs. I still get all the rest of the benefits of the WK. I’m sure the Ginger bug, or any other fermented product would be the same. Use whatever you want to sweeten or flavor your liquid, but wait until after the second ferment to add it.

      6. Shannon Hunt Avatar
        Shannon Hunt

        I am working on my 2nd batch right now. My bug has a good fizz to it, but my 1st batch of ale never fizzed after 4 days, I drank it. Real tasty, but more like a ginger-limeade. My 2nd batch is on day 4 now and I added some more bug yesterday, still no fizz. Could the lime maybe kill the bug?

          1. Mary Avatar

            My bug fizzed well and then my ginger ale didn’t really do much after three days. BUT… after putting it in the fridge so that I could add honey and lemon juice later to make it taste better, and putting off doing that for 3 or 4 days, I took it out of the fridge to find that it was fizzy and was just like I had hoped it would be before I put it in the fridge. It was delicious after adding honey and a little more lemon! So somehow it must continue fermenting in the fridge.

        1. Michele Avatar

          Mine took 2-3 weeks to fizz. And we keep it warm in our house during the day, 80F, which should cause it to ferment faster. In fact, i tried for seversl months to make kombuchs, but had vinegar within a few days. Finally gave up. But the ginger ale came out great after 3 weeks. My husband and son disagree, it seems there is some alcohol in it. Maybe next batch will work better since my ginger bug is stronger.

      7. Fran Avatar

        I must disagree with you about the honey, honey is used to ferment in mead and there are things called ferments using honey, the honey HAS to be RAW honey though and not processed honey from the supermarket or the ferment will not work

        1. Russell Avatar

          you may find that certain yeasts are more tolerant. I’ve read up (but am inexperienced at) on Komboucha vs Jun and literature definitely states sugar for Komboucha and water kefir and honey for Jun. Some people say you can ‘train’ your Scoby to be more accepting of one or the other, but they are definitely different types of sugars and other properties.

          I’d imagine that it’s a lot more critical when trying to grow the baby for the first time.

      8. ROGER LEE Avatar
        ROGER LEE


        1. Barry Avatar

          They have been using cane for thousands of years. They even found cane sugar in the Pyramids that was still viable.

      9. Roc Rizzo Avatar
        Roc Rizzo

        I have been brewing for 20 years or so, and know that honey ferments just fine. As a matter of fact, one of the oldest fermented beverages known (about 10,000 years) is called mead. Mead is also called honeywine. This is produced by fermenting a mixture of honey and water (I prefer to use apple cider). Add yeast, and wait for everything to settle out and there you have it.
        So use honey at about the same proportions that you would use sugar. Your results may vary though.
        I would also invest in a small carboy and a conventional fermenter, rather than cheesecloth. These items cost less than ten bucks, and can be had at any homebrew supply shop.

    2. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      NOt for this… the beneficial cultures feed on the sugar and it ferments out but it is needed for the reaction and to make the carbonation. Honey could work, though some honey, especially raw, is antimicrobial and can slow down the reaction.

      1. Candy South Avatar
        Candy South

        Okay, interesting replies. It is all something to sit down and think about. Thank you all for responding. I just like to make sure that I get my thoughts and facts straight. 🙂

      2. Rachael Avatar

        I just wanted to verify that although this recipe contains sugar, it’s a-ok for a person who suffers from Candida overgrowth?

        I love your blog, btw! Great recipes and I just printed out a TON of them!! 🙂 Thanks! x

        1. Debra Andersohn Avatar
          Debra Andersohn

          The natural probiotics in the ferment are great for candida in your body. Water kefir is really great for people who have candida as well. Read the book. Nourishing traditions. The book is all about how consuming fermented and cultured foods can cure candida. I’m personally experiencing this. I’ve lost 15 pounds in two months just adding these foods. My digestion is perfect now.

    3. Sarah Avatar

      I would like to report that I am having success using agave syrup. I started my bug using unrefined sugar but then I used agave syrup for the actual ginger beer and it’s working fine.

  18. Mary DeLong Avatar
    Mary DeLong

    we drink kombucha almost everyday, no stomach problems here

  19. Karen Hauser Avatar
    Karen Hauser

    how do you replenish the ginger bug as you use it? If it can be kept long term, it must need to be fed. Thanks for a great recipe..going to buy ginger root tomorrow!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I will add to the recipe above, but basically, you feed it daily (counter) or weekly (fridge)

      1. Karen Hauser Avatar
        Karen Hauser

        Thanks..I would imagine fridge is safest place to keep it..

      2. Nikki Avatar

        I know this sounds stupid, but I just want to make sure I get it right. When replenishing. If you take 1/2 cup ginger bug out, you add 1/2 cup fresh water, then feed it daily?

          1. Ken Avatar

            Hi Katie,

            Just an FYI, the ginger bug directions do not say to add more water and only says a teaspoon of ginger and sugar per week to keep it going in the fridge.

        1. scott Avatar

          When you add the ginger bug, do I just the liquid or both liquid and the ginger solids too?

        2. Char Stockwell Avatar
          Char Stockwell

          I add a tablespoon each of sugar, ginger, and water daily on the counter at room temperature. I make ginger ale or root beer weekly and this works well.

      3. Luan Avatar

        When adding the replacement sugar, ginger & water does it need to be brought to a boil first before adding it to the Bug? Or once the bug is made you just keep adding the raw ginger and sugar? Also does it have to sit out for a day or two when fed each time? Thank you so much for all this info that you so freely give!! I pray your are Truly Blessed for all your work.

        PS How did the Cream Soda / others turn out???? 😀

      4. Katarina Gonzalez Avatar
        Katarina Gonzalez

        Hello, your recipes are very spectacular–my favorite is the homemade rootbeer… However, I noticed that you mentioned “homemade Dr. Pepper and I was curious if you have a recipe for that. I have looked everywhere and could not find any recipes that involved natural fermentation. Thank you.

        1. Katie Avatar

          It’s my understanding that fermented raisins often gives drinks a Dr Pepper flavour, though I haven’t tried it myself.

      5. esin Avatar

        this is a great recipe, tried it 3 times so far and all turned out well, if I leave it to ferment for 4-5 days even better. Thank you so much

4.23 from 136 votes (69 ratings without comment)

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