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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

437 responses to “Natural Ginger Ale”

  1. Desiree Avatar
    Desiree

    I tried this recipe and after a week there is no bubbles at all after bottling it. it did not work for me

  2. Chaya Avatar

    3 stars
    What have I done wrong? I followed your steps for a ginger bug to a T and got that going. Then after the right amount of time I followed this recipe for the ginger ale – minus the whey because I don’t do dairy products.
    It’s been sitting a week now without a single trace of getting fizzy from fermentation. The liquid has gotten cloudier, and still smells delicious, but there’s no trace of bubble activity. I know you said it can take longer without the whey, but it seems odd there’s not even a slight bit of activity after a week. Help?!
    thank you

  3. Angel Avatar

    Hi, I’m getting very discouraged. This is my third attempt at making the Ginger Bug. It will be nice and bubbly for 2 or 3 days then completely stops. I’ll keep it going for several more days but it never revives. It doesn’t smell bad, it simply stops being bubbly. Any help is greatly needed. I’m in the Highlands of Scotland. I’ve kept it warm but the bubbles stop after the 3rd day. Help please.

  4. Jay Avatar

    Thanks for this recipe. I’m not having success with getting my ginger bug going. What happens if you add whey to the ginger bug? Might that work? Thank you.

  5. Lesa Avatar

    Hi there,
    Probably a dumb question, but do I add the liquor or pulp from the bug into the ginger beer recipe?
    Many thanks:)

  6. Debbie Avatar
    Debbie

    Do I ever strain the ginger bug? In the first step before adding it to the mix? Before the final bottling?
    Thanks!

  7. John Avatar

    When it says remaining water after you cook the wort does that mean add the other 5 cups or just add water until it cools down

  8. Courtney Avatar
    Courtney

    Hello Katie,
    I made your recipe for ginger beer and I’ve had the jars sitting out on the counter for two days now. I have the bits of ginger on the bottom, but there’s also two layers of sediment. One is a foggy cloudy “ginger beer” color, but there’s also a dark grey/green layer above that. Is this normal?
    I couldn’t find anything helpful online. Is it the lime pulp? Or yeasts possibly?
    Really want to get this right to try it!
    Courtney

  9. Matthew Avatar

    5 stars
    The recipe looks wonderful!

    Though I would like to know if you have tried active yeast or if you think the drink can be made with it?

  10. Syed Ali Avatar
    Syed Ali

    What is the alcohol content in this recipe? This is unlike Kombucha where the alcohol is converted to the vinegary acids by the acetobactor.

  11. Jennifer Avatar
    Jennifer

    I seem to have an ongoing issue with my ginger ale (or my bug?). My end result is always like a thick syrup. It looks fizzy in my jar, but when I open it the contents are thick and the consistency of raw egg white. I have a healthy looking bug with fizz that I’ve been feeding, but I’ve had three failed attempts at making my ale. I use distilled water, organic ginger, and cane sugar. I haven’t used metal anything. I use a cheesecloth to strain. Not sure where I’m going wrong. Please help.

  12. Kiska Avatar

    I had a similar situation and what I discovered was that my kitchen was too cool for the fermentation to occur. Especially at this time of year. So I put the container on top of my dehydrator and turned it on to a moderate heat. We often do that to get bread rising so I figured it might help in this situation. I also wrapped a kitchen towel around the gallon jar. I didn’t leave it there for hours but would check on it periodically and when the jar felt like it was around 75 degrees I turned it off. I did this several days in a row and whamo!! fizzy fermentation was obvious. I hope this helps!

  13. Emma Avatar

    Hi have started this recipe on Monday i have made it using a ginger bug, the ginger bug was nice and bubbly when I added it to the mix but there has been no signs of life to my ginger ale at all its now Wednesday should I start again or just leave it longer? Can I add more ginger bug to my already made mix?

  14. Nicole Nasvytis Avatar
    Nicole Nasvytis

    Hey,

    I’m about to make my worth and I was wondering… When it’s all done and I’m putting it in the fridge, if I strain the ale into grolsch bottles – how long will it last for? Is it better to leave it in the container?

  15. Rob Avatar

    4 stars
    Hi I have made this several times and it is delicious but I am trying to lose weight. Am I correct in saying that allowing a longer bottle ferment should reduce the sugar content?

    1. Marsha Whitt Avatar
      Marsha Whitt

      5 stars
      Welness Mama says on a kefir post:
      “The longer you let your kefir ferment, the more sugar ferments out.”

  16. Alberta Avatar

    I’m allergic to citrus. Is there anything I can substitute for the citrus juice? Or can I just leave it out?

  17. Sarah Avatar

    Is there a secret to making this Ginger Bee Spicy like the Caribbean Ginger Beer?

  18. Penny Avatar

    So this is day #3 on what I thought would be ginger ale by now…at least fizzing. Since it isn’t I have just started reading some of the comments to find out if others had trouble. What I discovered is that I read the recipe wrong! I thought the ginger wort was the same thing as the ginger bug and I proceeded with the directions from there. I didn’t start out with a ginger bug! Will this eventually turn into a fermented/carbonated drink or do I just have some really strong ginger tea on my hands?

  19. Amma Avatar

    5 stars
    I love your site. I just started my Bug about 6 days ago. However, it’s been cold in the house so it’s been a slow process. I forgot that it had to have warmth! LOL! So, yesterday I decided to place it near the stove or in the oven to avoid drafts and to get some warmth, so I’ll see what happens now. I also added some molasses. It did have bubbles and was fizzing a little, but, not as much as what I saw on YouTube, so I’ll leave it a bit longer.
    Do you have a link for the flat bottle that is shown in the title section!/picture of this article? I would like to get one. Thanks.

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