Ginger ale is a versatile and delicious natural beverage that can deliver some tremendous benefits thanks to the healing properties of the ginger root. The natural enzymes and probiotics of the bubbly beverage can help heal the gut and support proper digestion.
Hailing from Ireland and then Canada, ginger ale is thought to have originated about 200 years ago as a flavorful tonic. These days, manufacturers typically pump their sodas full of corn syrup as a cheap sweetener; but if you make it at home, you can opt for much healthier sources of sweetness.
Plus, making your ginger ale at home ensures you capture the true essence of the unfiltered root, rather than just gulping down some carbonated can of ginger-flavored syrup. With homemade ginger ale, you’ll get to experience both its powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-emetic effects. Not to mention it’s low in calories and high in magnesium, copper, iron, calcium and other minerals.
Lastly, this is a true fermentation exercise, so it will behave more like a chemistry experiment than a quick cocktail recipe. No carbonated water here; just nature’s amazing process of transforming ingredients with time, pressure, and wild yeast.
There’s just no other way to say it: if you kick traditional sodas, get good at making homemade ginger ale, and never look back, your life will be healthier and happier.
How to prepare our homemade, natural ginger ale:
- 8 cups of filtered water
- 1/2 cup homemade ginger bug or 1/4 cup whey (Note: a ginger bug takes a few days to assemble, here’s a good explanation of how to make one)
- 1/2 cup of organic sugar, rapadura sugar, or honey
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
- 1/2 tsp sea salt or Himalayan salt
- 1-2 inch piece of fresh ginger root minced
In a pan, mix salt, sugar, minced ginger root and 3 cups of water and put the mixture on heat to boil. This process will make a wort (this is a brewer’s term, typically used for beer before alcohol fermentation). Simmer it for 5 minutes or so until the sugar dissolves, and remove it from the heat.
Cool the wort down by adding the rest of the water. Add the fresh lime or lemon juice and the ginger whey or bug, and then put the mixture in a glass mason jar. Stir your mixture extremely well and then pop the lid on tight.
Leave on the counter for 2-3 days until carbonated, all the while watching carefully. Using whey will cause it to ferment more quickly. It should be bubble and “hiss” like a soda whenever the lid is removed, which means pressure is released. This process is very temperature dependent, and the mixture will need to be burped or stirred during this fermentation time on the counter.
Make sure follow the instructions carefully and release the pressure regularly, because fermentation can burst its vessel. After a few days, you can move it into the refrigerator where it will last indefinitely. Of course, you strain it right before you consume it. And if you screw it up? Don’t sweat it — fermentation is more art than science, and it will take some time to learn. But you’ll likely fall in love with the process (and the end result) as fermented foods will work wonders on your gut diet.
Enjoy your ginger ale!