Fragrant, Effervescent and Refreshing Ginger Ale

Refreshing Healthy Ginger Ale
Refreshing Healthy Ginger Ale

Summer is now in full swing and the temperatures have been in the mid to high 80’s (up here that is a heat-wave my friends). And there is just nothing better than an icy cold delicious glass of homemade Ginger Ale to beat the heat. It really is simple to make homemade soda and truly homemade soda is chocked full of great health benefits, like wonderful probiotics. The best part is that YOU control how much sugar goes into the soda and the artificial colors and preservatives and other bad stuff is non-existent. It’s so easy you won’t believe you are really doing it! Once you taste it you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it all along.

Ginger Bug Starter
Ginger Bug Starter
Bubbly Ginger Bug
Bubbly Ginger Bug

September of 2014 I published a post called Ginger Ale, Ginger Ale, Where for Art Thou Ginger Ale! on how to make a ginger bug. Ginger bugs are easy to care for. If you leave it on your counter top just feed it a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of minced ginger root once a day. If you keep it in the fridge just feed it a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of minced ginger once a week, let it bubble back up and then put it back in the fridge for another little nap. Always replace the liquid you use with non- chlorinated water, and if it gets too full of ginger root scoop some out and discard it into your compost. Once you have a ginger bug established you can make all sorts of soda, but Ginger Ale is my personal Favorite, to date.

Ginger Ale

Ingredients

1 to 2 knobs or knuckles or Tablespoons of minced unpeeled ginger root

2 quarts non-chlorinated water

½ to ¾ Cup raw sugar or granulated sugar plus ½ Tablespoon molasses

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ Cup lemon juice

½ Cup Strained Ginger Bug (Don’t forget to add non-chlorinated water back to your ginger bug jar)

In a large pan add the water, sugar, (molasses if used) and ginger root and sea salt, bring it to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and leave cool to room temperature. This is referred to as wort. Once your wort is cooled completely, strain it into a pitcher and add the lemon juice and ginger bug. Mix and pour into bottles with tight fitting caps. I prefer Grolsch-style bottles. Leave the bottles on the counter for 48 to 72 hours then refrigerate and enjoy! Take care not to forget to refrigerate the bottles after 72 hours as they can continue to carbonate until they explode. (VERY MESSY INDEED)

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Ginger Ale, Ginger Ale, Where for Art Thou Ginger Ale!

Ever miss the full and robust flavors of things from nature, with no chemicals or other unnatural added flavorings? I do! I miss the frosty fizzy bite of fresh Ginger Ale.  This started my quest to find a way to make Ginger Ale and other fizzy beverages without yeast.  I read about making a Ginger Bug, a ginger, water, sugar and molasses mixture that ferments and becomes the “fizz” in the homemade soda of yesteryear.  My first attempt failed dismally. After more research I discovered that just like any living thing the Ginger Bug needs warmth and food. Our home is a comfortable 68 degrees but this seems to be too cool for the process to work. I found a spot next to my Himalayan Salt Lamp that seemed to be just the right temperature for Mother Nature to do her work.

Craft Tags to label bottle contents from www.sav-on-closeouts.com
Craft Tags to label bottle contents from http://www.sav-on-closeouts.com

Developing a Ginger Bug:

2 Cups non-chlorinated water

2 knobs of a ginger root

½ Cup sugar

1 teaspoon unsulfured molasses

Day 1:

Cut off 2 knobs of ginger from the root (wash but don’t peel) and mince it up. Add water, minced ginger, sugar and molasses to a Quart mason jar. Stir with non-metal spoon until sugar is dissolved. Cover with a plastic lid or a coffee filter secured with a rubber band. Put in a warm (not hot) location (above 68 degrees)

Day 2 – 7:

Feed your Ginger Bug 1 Tablespoon minced ginger and 1 Tablespoon of sugar and stir with a plastic spoon once a day for the next 6 days. Around day 4, 5 or 6 you should see bubbles start to form.

Once very active you can store it on the counter with daily feedings of 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon minced  ginger or you can store it in the fridge and take it out once a week and feed it 1 Tablespoon of minced ginger and 1 Tablespoon sugar.

To use your Ginger Bug to make fermented beverages you will use ¼ cup of strained Ginger Bug to 1 Quart of wort.

Be sure to add back enough non chlorinated water to replace he liquid you used. If your Ginger Bug gets too much ginger in it, just scoop some out and discard it.

Stay tuned for recipes on how to use your Ginger Bug to make wonderful carbonated beverages. I recently used it to make carbonated Ginger Oolong Iced Tea. I can’t wait to try out the lemon balm and mint from my herb garden.