This natural probiotic ginger ale was so fun to make, but more importantly, it also tasted great! It’s so refreshing, just perfect for a warm spring or summer day.
In order to make this recipe, you must first and foremost make something called a ginger bug. The ginger bug is like a starter for the bacteria culture, and it’s the key to this whole process. It’s similar to a sourdough starter or kombucha SCOBY.
Why is bacteria important?
Bacteria is vital to our well being, so it’s important to take good care of them. It’s essential for us to maintain a healthy balance of gut microbes. Disruption of this delicate ecosystem can cause issues like gastrointestinal distress, infections, even depression and anxiety. When that happens, however, probiotic supplements can be helpful. This natural ginger ale happens to be full of probiotics your tummy will appreciate.
How does a ginger bug become probiotic ginger ale?
So basically, ginger promotes the growth of good bacteria, meanwhile inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria. These bacteria munch on sugar as they grow and reproduce. As a result, carbon dioxide is released. The carbon dioxide dissolves into the solution, or in other words, carbonates it.
Making a ginger bug is certainly not an exact science. That is to say, everyone seems to have their own way of doing it. I made mine by first adding two cups of water to a quart size jar. You should use de-chlorinated water so it won’t harm the culture. After that, I added two tablespoons each of cane sugar and grated organic (in other words, there are no pesticides to harm your culture – or most importantly, you!) ginger root. Finally, I stirred my ginger bug and covered it with a cloth and rubber band, because it needs plenty of oxygen. The cloth allows the ginger bug to breathe. After that comes the hardest part: waiting.
Every day, for the next 5 days, I lovingly tended to my ginger bug. I stirred in one new tablespoon each of sugar and grated ginger. By the second day, bubbles had formed around the surface.
On the fifth day, it was nice and fizzy. I was finally ready to cook up my ginger ale. There is, however, one more waiting step before you get to enjoy your natural probiotic ginger ale. Just think of it as building anticipation!
The ginger ale recipe below was adapted from Alton Brown’s ginger ale recipe.
- NIH Human Microbiome Project defines normal bacterial makeup of the body
- How Bacteria in Our Bodies Protect Our Health
- Hypothesis: Bacteria Control Host Appetites
- Campylobacter jejuni infection increases anxiety-like behavior in the holeboard
- Probiotics: effects on immunity
- Functional food science and gastrointestinal physiology and function
- Microbiological assessment of probioticated ginger‐based beverages
Natural, Probiotic Ginger Ale
- 1/2 cup ginger bug
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2-3 tbsp grated ginger
- 8 cup filtered water
- 3/4 cup lemon or lime juice
- First, add sugar, ginger, and one cup of water to a saucepan.
- Bring mixture to a boil, then simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
- Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
- Once cooled, stir in the remaining ingredients.
- Strain the liquid into an air tight container and tighten the lid.
- Allow the soda to sit at room temperature for 2-3 days, checking each day for desired amount of carbonation.
- When desired CO2 level is reached, refrigerate.
- 2 cups filtered water
- 2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 2 tbsp sugar
- Cover jar with cloth and stir in one additional tablespoon each of grated ginger and sugar every day for 5-7 days.