It’s perfectly fizzy, has an awesome kick of ginger and packed with probiotics. I promise you, you are going to want to try this homemade ginger beer!
The fizziness and the probiotics come from something called a ginger bug, a jar of lacto-fermented ginger. The ginger bug is made up of filtered water, fresh ginger and sugar. You feed a bit of fresh ginger and sugar every day to a jar until it starts bubbling away. The bubbling will tell you your ginger bug is active and full of the Lactobacillus bacteria, which is responsible for turning all the sugar in there to lactic acid, which in turn, is responsible for the probiotics and good digestive health.
This ginger bug will also carbonate your drink so it’s so fizzy and delicious without the need for any gadgets like a soda stream. This recipe is for a ginger beer, but this ginger bug can carbonate any fruit juice, or tea you like.
To make the ginger bug, start with pouring 500ml of filtered water into a sterilised glass jar. Add to it 2cm of freshly grated ginger and 2 teaspoons sugar. I just use plain cane sugar for this part. Cover the jar with a cloth and keep in a warm dark place.
Every day for the next 2-6 days (depending on how warm your home is), 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, though again depending on the heat of your home it may take longer.
Once your bug is bubbling and active* (put your ear by it, you should also be able to hear it bubble), then you can make your ginger beer base.
*After you have used your bug, top it up with water, ginger and sugar. Then you can store it in the fridge in a sealed jar until you next use it, but feed it once a week to keep it alive, 2cm ginger and 2 tsp sugar. If you want to use it again, take it out of the fridge and feed it at least 6 hours before you need it.
For this recipe, I filled two 750ml beer bottles.
In a saucepan, I combined 1.4 liters of filtered water, 1/3 cup – 1/2 cup of sugar (depending on how sweet you like it), a pinch of salt and 3cm fresh ginger, grated. 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.
I also added in 4 pieces of my dehydrated limes. Lime or lemon is definitely necessary for flavour but they don’t need to be dried. That’s just what I use because that’s what I’ve got. I add my limes in at the start when the liquid is warm so they can rehydrate quickly. If you are using fresh lemon or lime, add the juice of one lemon or lime, once the sugar water has cooled to room temperature.
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 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. If it’s fizzy you can put it in the refrigerator, if not, seal it back up and let it sit another day.
Once ready, serve chilled. Enjoy!