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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. Rach Avatar

    Someone above said something about heating it but not quite boiling it, then mold formed a few days later. Too many unmentioned variables to know for sure, but I’m wondering if boiling has something to do with making sure mold doesn’t grow. Don’t take my word for it – I’m just hazarding a guess, since I’ve never made this recipe myself.

  2. Rach Avatar

    You’ll find the answer to your question in the thread under comment #6.

  3. Rach Avatar

    If you compare the format of that measurement to the format of the other measurements in the recipe, you can see that it’s a ‘one to two inch’ piece of ginger; if it was a half inch piece, it would be listed as ‘ 1/2″ piece’. Hope that helps.

  4. Gudrun Avatar

    After you use the 1/2 cup of ginger bug in the recipe, how fast do you replenish the supply of fluid to the ginger bug?

  5. Jenn Avatar

    5 stars
    Just a reminder if you have a dairy allergy as I do – it is best to stay away from the whey, as it will trigger an autoimmune response as it does in my case, hence the reason why I drain my homemade cream cheese very well which puts back the probiotics needed to digest that little extra dairy like cream etc that I might need to add to recipes. Rather I would put a bit of cream cheese into the Ginger Beer to boost Probiotics – It will further breed more on standing. Hope this helps.

  6. Julie Avatar

    I’ve had ale out for a week and there’s little to no fizz. Shall I keep it out? Can I still drink it? I’m also starting my third trimester of pregnancy and want a “cocktail.” Advice on if it’s safe: seems to me like it’s just ginger, lemon, sugar water. It’s chilly inside my house. The bug fizzed but not my ale..yet. Again, I’ll wait but can I drink it if it’s not fermented? Thanks. I searched about 1/3 of these comments, so hoping I’ll get a response as I’m sure this question and answe is in there.

  7. Aubrey Avatar

    I’m going to make this for my husband for Christmas (he loves Moscow mules) just wondering if blackstrap molasses would be too strong to use in this recipe?

  8. Judy Avatar

    Curious if someone who has been successful, covers their fermenting jars with paper towels so it can breath etc rather than sealing tightly? This is the first I’ve come across a seal since making tea and coffee kombucha (and grape soda–mega carbonated effortlessly with ginger bug)! ?? If I try Wellness Mama’s ginger ro root beer I wouldn’t seal it for sure, myself…just sayin’….her Coffee Kombucha is amazing and never sealed till after second ferment 😉

  9. Mary Jo Avatar

    can a scoby that I use to make kombucha .. be also used to make the pro-biotic ginger ale

    Awesome recipe .. thank you !!!

  10. Kristen Avatar

    5 stars
    Hi Katie,
    I have a quick question for you. Does the end product have a strong ginger flavor? If not, would it be alright for me to start off the recipe with more… and how much would you recommend?
    Thanks,
    Kristen

    1. Jacob Avatar

      You can do 3 times as much ginger if you want a stronger batch. Also, once it comes to a boil, turn it off and cover it and let the wort steep for about 45 minutes before you allow it to cool down. You’ll get super intense ginger flavor out of it. Also, the lemon/lime juice is very powerful and tends to outshine the ginger at the regular recipe, causing almost an apple cider taste, you can probably cut the juice in half and still be okay.

      Just be patient and make sure you let it cool all the way to room temp before adding your bug.

  11. Kristen Stokely Avatar
    Kristen Stokely

    5 stars
    Hi Katie!
    I can’t wait until I have some of this natural, fermented ginger ale. I’ve been brewing kombucha for about a year and a half. I convert my scobies to Jun scobies. I like it much more versus what the original kombucha makes. It’s less vinegary, and much more carbonated…. love it!! I second ferment with 25% pineapple juice to 75% kombucha (I don’t shake the container of juice and carefully pour it, so I don’t use any of the pulp. If it gets into the bottles they’ll over-carbonate. It’ll also leave lots of sediment in the bottles…ewww). The Jun scobies ferment much more quickly… in about 3-4 days. This is great for me, because I drink ALOT… well, probably too much ;).

    I never had much luck with water (or milk, for that matter) kefir. Maybe it was working for me, and I just didn’t care for it… Idk.
    I’m really looking forward to trying this ginger ale…I totally love the flavor of ginger!! (I’ve already got my “bug” started.)
    Thanks for providing all of this great information. I just signed up for access to everything here on your site, and for the weekly emails.
    From a very excited fermenter lol

  12. Dave Avatar

    Hi Katie,

    I have been making this Ginger Ale recipe for a few years now but the last batch I made turned into a syrupy goo.

    It also had some strands of white stuff in it. I also make Kombucha and Water Kefir. Could this have been a result of cross culture?

  13. Dave Avatar

    5 stars
    Dear Katie,
    I have been making Ginger Ale for several years now. I started after seeing your recipe , thank you for that! I went today to bottle my last batch and discovered when I strained it that the whole batch turned to slime. What would cause this to happen? I also make Kombucha and Water Kefir. could this be a cross culture problem? I am throwing this batch out. should I start a new Ginger Bug as well?

    Yours Truly,

    Dave.

  14. Laura Avatar

    Please Help!
    I made my ginger bug, and it was fizzing nicely, so I went ahead and made the ginger ale recipe, as described above. My jar of ginger ale has been sitting on the counter for over a week, and there is no carbonation. 🙁 So sad. What did I do wrong? How “room temperature” does the mixture need to be before adding the bug? That’s the only thing I can think of that could be the problem. My mixture was only the slightest bit warm when I added the bug. Is it that sensitive to temperature that “slightly warm” should really be a firm “room temperature”? Thank you for your help!

    1. Jake Avatar

      I’ve found that 90°F or less works best when introducing the ginger bug over this summer. It needs to be lower than body temp. And honestly, if your probiotics are thriving at a certain temp, then you need to introduce them to another liquid that is near the same temp they’ve been growing at so as not to shock them. Also, you haven’t used metal spoons to stir your mixture right? That’s bad for the probiotics. Finally, are you using grolsch style bottles to carbonate your gingerale? If not, you should consider investing in a few. They trap air very well and carbonate much quicker. Don’t give up Laura. I failed at this recipe four times before it worked. It was well worth it too. Lol. Good luck.

  15. Tamara Avatar

    5 stars
    Hi Katie,
    Does this produce any alcohol, even just trace amounts like in kombucha? I ask because I want to share the recipe with a friend but she’s highly allergic to alcohol.

  16. Lori Avatar

    Hi, Great stuff here. Thanks! Question, if you use whey instead of ginger bug mix. Does it affect the probiotics?

  17. Jake Carroll Avatar
    Jake Carroll

    5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe twice now and It’s amazing. I’m making it a 3rd time tonight using lime juice for the first time instead of lemon juice. Do you know if it’s okay to strain the Ginger bug before adding it to the wort? Or will that impede carbonation? My first time making it, I strained the Ginger out before hand and it never carbonated. My second time I left it in and one of the bottles exploded twice. Lol. Granted that was one I left with a friend who was unavailable to burp it. I’m told the first time the gingerale hit her kitchen ceiling it was so carbonated. The second time the whole bottle exploded. I advised her to put it in the fridge after the first incident. Lol. She didn’t listen. My two bottles carbonated in 12 hours though. That’s a pretty potent bug wouldn’t you agree? I just wondered if It’s mandatory to leave all the particles in the liquid before you drink it. Thanks for this article Wellness Mama! I’ve been loving my gingerale. =) Gonna try root beer next!
    Jake

  18. Anita Avatar

    hi, I am in a process of making it today and was wondering do I need to pour the liquid through a sieve to get rid of all ginger and lemon particles?

  19. Danielle Volbrecht Avatar
    Danielle Volbrecht

    Hi, i made the mixture exactly the only difference is i put it into a bigger jar with a bigger air gap at the top and i think this caused it to get moldy and has not carbonated? any suggestions?

  20. R C Avatar

    This recipe is identical to the one found at wellnessmama.com. I don’t know who wrote the post first but they are identical. This is the same as modern hippie.com

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      Thank you so much for letting me know! I can’t seem to find the plagiarized post. Do you have a link to it please so we can take care of it?

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