A ginger bug is a fermentation made out of ginger, sugar, and water that acts similar to a sourdough starter, except it’s used for making carbonated drinks like root beer, ginger ale, and fruit juices.
Beyond the health benefits, another upside to all those microscopic bugs eating the sugar and pooping out CO2 is it makes your drink fizzy.
Forget about the store-bought sodas that are loaded with industrial sludge. Drink something healthy. Well, at least healthier. Homemade soft drinks are still loaded with sugar, so drink them in moderation.
The nice thing about it is it’s simple to make a ginger bug. Add some chopped ginger, filtered water, and sugar to a jar, and let it grow for about 5 days. You’ll need to feed it once a day until it’s nice and bubbly and ready to use.
One thing to keep in mind with fermented drinks is that they do have a mild alcohol content. Generally somewhere between 0.5% and 1%.
NOTE: You may have noticed that I’m using a special fermentation lid on my wide-mouth jar. It’s not necessary to have one. I just keep them for making sauerkraut. If you have a regular lid with a ring and cap, you can just flip the cap over so it doesn’t seal and lightly screw on the lid so some of the gasses can escape.
Ginger Bug Recipe
- 2 1/2 cups filtered water
- 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp. ginger - minced
- 5 tsp. granulated sugar
- 5 tbsp. ginger - minced
Creating Your Starter
- Thoroughly clean your jar, its lid, and any other equipment you may be using.
- Mix the sugar and water in a quart jar, seal and shake until the sugar is well dissolved.
- Add the ginger and swirl to combine. Screw the lid on and place in a cool, dark place for one day.
Feeding Your Ginger Bug
- Each day, for the next 5 days, stir in 1 tablespoon of minced ginger and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Reseal the jar.
- By the end of 5 days, you should start seeing bubbles and it should start having a yeasty aroma. At this point, it's ready to use. Strain before use.