Learning how to make homemade ginger ale couldn’t be easier — not to mention healthy, cheap, and fun to make!
We use a ginger bug for our homemade ginger ale, which is a lacto-fermented starter that not only helps with gut health but it also provides natural carbonation to any homemade soda or drink that you make.
While our recipe does call for half a cup of sugar, keep in mind that the ginger culture will feed on the sugar.
This greatly reduces the total amount of sugar in your final ginger ale when it is done and ready to drink.
How to Make Homemade Ginger Ale
You’ll need a ginger bug culture to start, which takes about a week to produce if you’re starting from scratch.
Ginger bug is like sourdough starter — it takes time to make initially but you can keep feeding it and always have it on hand after you make your first batch.
You’ll also need a large two-quart Mason jar with air-tight lid. You’ll also need something to put your finished ginger ale. Many people use swing-top bottles — which help lock in natural carbonation — but basically any container will do.
We keep ours in a glass tea jar with spigot as it’s easy to transfer the finished homemade ginger ale to the tea jar but it’s really up to you, keeping in mind that this recipe will make about two quarts total of ginger ale.
1. Grate about two tablespoons of ginger, although you can use more or less depending on your taste for ginger.
2. Add three cups of distilled or purified water to a small pot and bring to a boil.
3. Add your ginger to the boiling water, along with 1/2 cup of sugar (any sugar will work, as far as granulated, cane sugar, etc.) and 1/2 teaspoon of a salt of your choice.
4. Stir thoroughly and reduce heat to a simmer. Let the mixture simmer for about 5 minutes, making sure the sugar has dissolved completely.
5. Pour the mixture into your Mason jar and let it come to room temperature. Add five additional cups of distilled or purified water, 1/2 cup of lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of your ginger bug.
6. Stir well and put the lid on your Mason jar. Leave the jar out on your counter — don’t refrigerate — for two to three days so the ginger bug can work its magic.
7. When it fizzes easily and the lid “pops” when opening, your homemade ginger ale is done. Transfer to whatever bottle or container you like and refrigerate.
The only tricky part is knowing when it’s done.
As the ginger bug culture eats the sugar and produces carbon dioxide it will become fizzy and carbonated, which also creates pressure.
It’s a gradual process and temperature and the strength of your ginger bug can impact how long it takes, but your ginger ale will generally be done in two to three days.
Keep an eye on it after a few days and look for tell-tale signs such as it fizzing easily when shaken or stirred and an audible suction and “pop” as carbon dioxide escapes when you open the lid.
Now you know how to make homemade ginger ale!