You will be adding your Ginger Bug to the "wort" or base. You may use any type of base as long as it has sugar, the sugar is for the enzymes. You have to add real sugar not any type of artificial sweetener it seems like a lot of sugar but there is only 2-3% left after the enzymes convert it to carbonation. For your wort you could use sweetened tea, fruit juices, herbs or any combination you like. The recipe below is for Ginger Ale, you could cut the recipe in half if you like.
The WORT = the base
Bring to a boil:
- 1/2 gallon of water
- 3-6 inches of fresh grated ginger root peel and all
1 1/2 cup of sugar
Pour the whole thing into a gallon container. Let it cool to room temp, add the juice of two lemons (or oranges), which will slow down the fermentation.
Then add 1/2 cup of your prepared ginger bug (either with or without the sediment – keep some sediment for making more bug). You can cut this recipe in half if you would like. The ginger bug is always added to the wort in the ratio of 1/4 cup ginger bug per quart of sweetened wort.
Keep the jar on the counter, with cheesecloth, and stir twice a day. Keep it warm (room temperature) and keep an eye on it. It could take from 3 days to to 1-2 weeks (again, depending on the temperature) to get ready. Taste it once in a while. If the bubbles rising up at the edge, it’s usually ready.
Replace the water in your ginger bug and add your equal amount of grated ginger and sugar and set it on the counter to ferment for a day or two before putting back into the fridge to rest for the next use. The ratio of ginger and sugar to water are always 1/4 cup water add 1 - 1 1/2 T. each of grated ginger and sugar. So for this recipe you added 1/2 cup ginger bug you will replace 1/2 cup water in your ginger bug jar and add 2 - 3 T. grated ginger and sugar.
- BOTTLE: CARBONATION
Keep an eye on them! It's alive so when you put the liquid in the corked or capped bottle it will be building up pressure. Corking is better, for the beginner, than capping. If the fermentation runs out of room in the bottle, it will blow out the cork, or it will explode a capped bottle. Both are messy, but the latter is more so, and dangerous. If you add fruits (and thus more sugar, i.e., food for the bacteria), then cut the fermentation and carbonation times in half and watch them even more closely.
When the yeast ferments the sugars (which it will keep doing unless it gets too cold), it produces CO2. Closing off the container at this point will force that CO2 into the liquid instead of letting it escape, thus carbonating your soda, or making it fizzy.
After several days, put the bottles in the fridge to stop the fermentation. It is ready to drink.