This healthier homemade ginger beer is perfectly fizzy, has an awesome kick of ginger and packed with probiotics.
This is a homemade ginger beer that’s naturally fermented. The fizziness and the probiotics come from a ginger bug. The ginger bug is made up of water, fresh ginger and sugar.
That’s the first thing that needs to be set up when making homemade ginger beer, but once you’ve got it bubbling away you can make ginger beer whenever you like!
What is A Ginger Bug?
It is a jar of lacto-fermented ginger. All you do is feed a bit of fresh ginger and sugar every day to a jar of water, until it starts bubbling away.
The bubbling in the bug is due to wild yeasts and the Lactobacillus bacteria which break down the sugars. The bacteria convert them into lactic acid which in turn, is responsible for the probiotics and good digestive health.
It’s the same bacteria that’s in sourdough starter!
Both the wild yeasts and the bacteria create carbon dioxide which means this ginger bug will also carbonate your drink so it’s so fizzy and delicious. There is no need for any gadgets like a soda stream.
How To Make A Ginger Bug
To make the ginger bug, start with pouring 500ml water into a clean glass jar. I use my tap water and it works well, but use filtered water if you believe your tap water may hinder the process.
Add to it 2cm of freshly grated ginger and 2 teaspoons sugar. I just use plain cane sugar for this part as it’s just going to be eaten by the bacteria and yeast anyway. No need to be fancy!
Cover the jar with a cloth and keep in a warm place out of direct sunlight.
Every day for the next 2-6 days feed the jar another 2cm of ginger and 2 tsp of sugar.
After about 4 days you might see it start to bubble and the ginger will rise to the top
How long it takes can depend on the warmth of your environment.
Once your bug is bubbling and active, it is ready to use.
Once you have used your bug, top it up with a 1/3 cup water, 2cm ginger and 2 tsp sugar. Then you can store it in the fridge in a sealed jar until you next use it.
Every couple of months, you can feed it 2cm ginger and 2 tsp sugar to keep it active, however the ginger bug is pretty robust once made. I have left mine in the fridge for 3 months before feeding it again and it was fine.
If you want to use it again, take it out of the fridge and feed it at least 6 hours before you need is, so it is bubbling active.
Making The Ginger Beer Base
For this recipe, I filled two 750ml beer bottles. They’re a good quality bottle with an excellent air tight seal.
A good seal is crucial for a fizzy ginger beer, however you have to take care especially when using glass bottles, to let some of the gas out as it builds up. Otherwise you may have an explosion.
I only make two bottles at a time so I use glass bottles as it’s easy enough to keep an eye on them and ‘burp’ the bottles as needed. If making bulk amounts, I would suggest using plastic bottles that are sealed with a cap. They are safer incase there is a build up of gas and the bottle bursts.
In a saucepan, combine 1.4 litres of water, 1/3 cup – 1/2 cup of sugar , a pinch of salt and 3cm fresh ginger, grated. The more sugar added at this point, the sweeter it will be and the quicker it will carbonate.
I used coconut sugar in this step because it adds flavour and a gorgeous caramel colour. Warm this up to a simmer, until the sugar dissolves, then let it cool down. Once cool, add in 2 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice.
Once your liquid has cooled, it can be strained and the grated ginger can be discarded. To this strained liquid, add in 1/3 cup of strained, or unstrained (your preference) active ginger bug. Pour into the two bottles (use a funnel, or a jug with a spout) and seal them airtight.
Store in a cool dark place for 2-3 days, though I would check for carbonation after 2 days. If it’s fizzy you can put it in the refrigerator, if not, seal it back up and let it sit another day.
How long they take to carbonate depends on the strength of your bug, the amount of sugar added to the ginger beer base, the seal of the bottles and the temperature of your environment. It can take 2-3 days or up to two weeks.
Once it is carbonated, store the bottles in the fridge to slow down further carbonation.
Healthier Ginger Beer
- 1.4 litres water
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 cm fresh ginger finely grated
- juice of 1 lemon or lime
- pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup active ginger bug (check this post on how to make a ginger bug)
- Heat the water, ginger, salt and sugar until a simmer and the sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool to room temperature and let the ginger infuse in the water.
- Add in the juice of the lemon or lime.
- Add in the active ginger bug liquid.
- Strain the liquid and pour into bottles and seal air tight.
- Check for carbonation after 2-3 days, especially in glass bottles to avoid them bursting.
- Once it is carbonated, store the bottles in the fridge to slow down further carbonation.
Have you made this? Tag me and let me know! @home_grown_happinessnz