Make Fermented Soda with a Ginger Bug

Root beer is an iconic beverage with a nostalgic smell and taste. The history of root beer actually predates European colonization in North America. Indigenous tribes brewed a similar beverage with sassafras root for medicinal uses as well to enjoy it by itself. Once it was introduced to Europeans and the Americans it took off.

And in our previous article, we mentioned 5 Reasons Why People Do Not Want to Start Brewing.

A glass of root beer on a wooden table.

Root beer

Originally it was viewed as a medical drink with various health benefits. It was even fermented with brewer’s yeast. But then came along the prohibition. Root beer makers found a way to adapt and begin making non-alcoholic versions.

Today root beer is mainly seen as a soda sold by major soft drink companies. And it’s seen more as a sweet carbonated treat. The ingredients in root beer can vary depending on who making it. But the two most iconic ingredients are sassafras root or bark and sarsaparilla root that gives that iconic root beer color and flavor.

Other common ingredients are ginger, anise, licorice root, and birch bark. Today we’re keeping things simple so we just use root beer concentrate. All you need to do is to add water and sugar.

The Recipe

A root beer float with vanilla ice cream.

We are starting from a ginger bug we have in our fridge. We are making a 1-gallon batch but feel free to scale this up to any size you want. Start by adding the root beer concentrate into your fermenter.

Next is sugar. One cup of sugar per gallon according to the instructions on the bottle. And then we add filtered water. We are also adding 30 grams of roughly chopped ginger. This is just to reinforce that ginger flavor and help support more fermentation activity. We are also using 200 grams of strained ginger bug.

With all that in, we add more water up to the 1-gallon mark. Put a lid on your fermenter and give it a good shake to mix. Add an airlock and set it in a room temperature area out of sunlight for about 3 to 4 days. The warmer the area is the faster it may ferment. And after bottling or kegging it should be ready to drink.

The flavor is spot on. But it has that added ginger punch. It goes down extremely smooth. There’s no sharp bite or bitterness. Just a crisp carbonic acid finish.

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