For hundreds of years 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.
Ginger is a delicious herb that has been used in many cultures for its health-boosting properties.
The 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.
Homemade ginger ale is soothing for digestive disturbances and contains probiotics and enzymes. It is low in calories but contains important nutrients, such as calcium, iron, copper, and magnesium, among others.
Here is how to prepare a homemade, natural ginger ale:
- 1-2 inch piece of fresh ginger root minced
- ½ tsp sea salt or Himalayan salt
- ½ cup fresh lemon or lime juice
- ½ cup of organic sugar, rapadura sugar, or honey
- ½ cup homemade ginger bug or ¼ cup whey
- 8 cups of filtered water
In a saucepan, mix 3 cups of the water, minced ginger root, sugar, and salt and bring the mixture to a boil in order to make a “wort”. Simmer for 5 minutes to dissolve the sugar, and remove from heat.
Add the rest of the water, and leave the mixture to cool. Add the fresh lemon or lime juice and the ginger bug or whey, and transfer the mixture to a 2-quart glass mason jar. Stir well and put the lid on.
Leave the mixture on the counter for 3 days, and you might need to stir or burp it occasionally. The use of whey will accelerate the fermentation process. When you remove the lid, it should bubble and should “hiss” like a soda.
Note that you should carefully follow the instructions, in order to prevent too much pressure that will burst the bottle. Then, store it in the fridge, and strain it before consumption.
Enjoy your drink!