A few weeks ago, a dear friend and I exchanged recipes by mail. I sent her my favorite salmon curry chowder- and she sent me a recipe for wild fermented soda! It was such a treat to receive. I stopped drinking alcohol last October (almost 1 year!), and so to be honest…I definitely find myself craving some sort of festive/special beverage now and then. I definitely have a thing for carbonation…but truly despise purchasing something like canned soda waters just for the added undisclosed flavors and the waste of all the cans. It just never seems worth it to me. But this…my friends…is truly the answer I have been awaiting! It is so fun and magical to create this beverage- making the festivity of enjoying it all the more special and celebratory. With a little patience, your dream carbonated libation awaits.
It begins with what is called making a ginger bug (shown above)- similar to that of a sourdough starter. With some sugar of choice, filtered water, and diced ginger- it needs to be fed daily until it is bubbly and active. Then, you use a little of that to put into the final concoction…Bottle it up…then let it rest a few days to carbonate…then put into the fridge…and then you’re ready to pop one open and taste the true magic of wild fermentation! It really is so cool. Especially after having been baking sourdough once a week since March…I love expanding my use of wild yeast.
I will first write out the recipe for the ginger bug that my friend sent me, from Nourished Kitchen. Then explain how you can use it to make your own sodas. And I will also add two of my own recipes for the sodas I have made so far: Lemon Balm-Rosehip-Ginger and Orange-Pineapple.
To Start the Bug
- 2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 ounce fresh ginger diced
To Feed the Bug
- 5 teaspoons sugar
- 2 1/2 ounces fresh ginger diced
To Use the Bug
- 8 cups fruit juice or sweetened herbal tea
Preparing the Bug
- Warm the water in a saucepan over medium heat, and stir in the sugar until it dissolves fully. Cool the sugar water to room temperature.
- Drop the ginger into a pint-sized jar, and then cover it with the sugar water. Seal the jar, and let it culture at room temperature for one day.
Feeding the Bug
- The next day, and each day for 5 days, stir 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 ounce ginger into the jar, and then close the jar tightly. Between 3 and 5 days, you should start to see bubbles forming, and your bug should smell yeasty and gingery. When you see bubbles, your bug is ready to use.
Using the Bug
- To use the bug, strain 1/2 cup of the liquid and mix it with 7 1/2 cups liquid such as fruit juice or sweetened herbal tea, bottle and ferment up to 3 days.
AWD’s Lemon Balm Rosehip Ginger Wild Soda
This is a heart warming tea I make often and was the first thing that came to mind when thinking about what soda connections I wanted to try. It turned out so fantastic. I definitely want to play around with the Lemon Balm and ginger amount next time (I like spicccccy), but we thoroughly enjoyed this first batch!
Add about 3-4 tbsp. of chopped and peeled ginger in 8c of filtered water to boil. Let simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and add 3/4oz dried lemon balm, 3 tbsp. dried rose hips, and 3 tbsp. of sugar of choice (I used honey). Let steep in the pot, covered, for at least an hour.
Strain the tea into another vessel and then add a 1/2 cup of the ginger bug.
Now it is ready to bottle up! Use a funnel to pour the brew into flip-top bottles leaving at least 1-2″ of space at the top (this recipe yielded about four 16oz. bottles). Let sit on the counter for 3 days. Then put into the fridge and enjoy as soon as they’re cold!
AWD’s Orange Pineapple Wild Soda
This was the second one I tried. My partner loves all things orange, so I thought I would make a tropical organge-y soda. It ended up tasting quite a lot like a mimosa! Next time, I will add some ginger juice to into give it a little spice. I didn’t put water in the first batch (just 50/50 of the two juices), and I wish I had. It was just a little too much, and needed a watering down. Feel free to play around with the water amount.
Add 3 cups of fresh Orange Juice, 3 cups of fresh pineapple juice, and 3 cups of filtered water to a large vessel. Mix together and then add in 1/2c. of the ginger bug. Pour into flip top bottles leaving at least 1-2″ of space at the top. Then put into the fridge and enjoy as soon as they’re cold!