Turmeric-Ginger Ale Soda, The Recipe
First of all – start with making a ginger bug or live culture. It is actually super easy. The only thing you’ll need is ginger, water, sugar and some patience. It takes about 7 to 8 days to get it nice and bubbly.
It’s super easy to make and can be kept “alive” for ages in your fridge or on your countertop.
- 1-2 fresh ginger roots
- ½ cup white or unrefined sugar (honey, stevia, agave, maple, molasses or other sweeteners will NOT work)
- 2 cups filtered water (chlorine-free, chlorine can harm the culture)
- Grate 3 tablespoons of ginger and place in a quart size jar.
- Add 3 tablespoons of sugar and 2 cups of water.
- Stir with a wooden or plastic spoon and lightly cover with a coffee filter or cheese cloth and rubber band. .
- For the next 5 days (it may take 7-8 days depending on the temperature, but no longer): stir the mixture at least once a day and add 1 tablespoon grated ginger and 1 tablespoon sugar.
- An active culture will form bubbles, become cloudy, smell yeasty, and fizz when stirred. If mold appears, scrape it of. When too much mold appears or the process takes longer than 7 to 8 days, start over.
- Keep away from other cultures like scoby or sauerkraut to avoid contamination.
- Feed the culture daily with one teaspoon sugar and one teaspoon grated ginger or let it rest in the fridge. When resting in the fridge don’t forget to feed it every week, 1 tablespoon sugar and one tablespoon grated ginger.
- To reactivate the culture, bring it back to room temperature and daily feed it again.
Making The Soda
Once you’ve got your ginger bug, you can make the soda…
- ½ gallon (or about 2 liters) water
- ⅓ cup fresh turmeric root (or more), grated
- 1 cup sugar (white or raw palm sugar, sweeteners like honey or agave won’t work)
- About 2 cups ginger bug (we used about 400 ml)
- 2 oranges (or grapefruit or pomelo), juice only
- 4 limes (or lemons), juice only
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper (to improve the bio-availability of turmeric active compound curcumin)
FYI: the culturing process works best with white sugar, we always use raw palm sugar though, which works fine as well but takes a bit longer.
- First things first, make a healthy, bubbling ginger bug or starter culture.
- In a pot, bring water, turmeric and sugar to a boil. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Once the mixture has cooled down, add the ginger bug, black pepper, orange juice, and lemon juice. Stir well.
- Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve to remove turmeric and ginger bug debris.
- Pour the mixture into soda bottles that have swing tops or tight fitting screw top lids. Allow the bottles to sit for 2 to 4 days on room temperature. This will depend on the temperature. We live in the tropics so for us it takes only 2 days to get a nice fizz into the drink.
- Regularly check the bottles by giving them a squeeze, they will get hard while the fizz or carbonation builds up. If not checking them regularly they can explode and you won’t like the yellow turmeric staining your kitchen walls.
- Once a day open up the cap and they should make a fizzy sound. When you put the cap back on the carbonation will build up again.
- Once you get a decent amount of fizz in it, refrigerate to stop the process.
- Once they are cold, they are ready to drink. You can store them in the fridge for up to a week or even 2 weeks. But our bottles never last longer than a week though… it’s too delicious to keep them in the fridge.
Once you get used to making your own fizzy drinks you can start to experiment with adding more turmeric, ginger or use other fresh fruit juices instead. Watermelon is very delicious, just use your blender to make fresh juice out of the fruit and strain to remove seeds. Berries are very delicious too. And in my last batch I added some green tea leaves to the boiling water as well. As you see your options of adding flavor are endless.