I have shared my recipe for raw ginger beer using a ginger bug before, but for some reason many people prefer making water kefir. So today I’m going to share a recipe for making raw ginger ale with water kefir! I am also going to share the top 10 reasons I LOVE ginger ale so much!
Water kefir grains have become much easier to find over the past several years, and it is easier to get started than a ginger bug as long as you get live grains. So that may be why many prefer water kefir even though in my opinion a ginger bug makes better sodas, and more easily at that.
What’s the difference between ginger ale and ginger beer?
A common question I’ve seen asked is if ginger ale and ginger beer are the same.
For starters, ginger beer is not actually beer. These days, it is a non-alcoholic beverage (people do really enjoy using it as a mixer, though!). Ginger beer is the original fizzy ginger drink, and was fermented and slightly alcoholic.
Ginger ale, on the other hand, is more of an imitation drink. It isn’t fermented, it’s non-alcoholic, and is bubbly because of added carbonation. It is generally high in sugar and often contains little or no real ginger! The horror!
Those are the major differences between ginger ale and ginger beer sodas. Ginger ale is the drink most commonly sold commercially. Many people believe it to have health benefits, but in reality it’s mostly the bubbles and many even believe any reported benefits are just a mind thing.
Ginger ale and ginger beer are terms often used interchangeably. So on my website, they are both referring to naturally fermented beverages that use real, fresh ginger root.
Some people also refer to this beverage as lemon ginger water kefir, or ginger lemonade water kefir. I personally just say “ginger ale.”
What are some benefits of drinking ginger ale water kefir?
One benefit of this recipe is that it uses way less sugar than my ginger beer recipe. Although most of the sugar is eaten up by the bacteria and yeasts during fermentation by the ginger bug as well, many people are still iffy about consuming it.
With this recipe, the first ferment gets rid of much of the sugar, and only a small amount is added in with the ginger and lemon juice for the second ferment (that’s also optional, but it does usually lead to better fizz!).
Another benefit of this recipe over my other ginger beer recipe is that it uses water kefir grains. Most people find it quicker and easier to get started fermenting with water kefir grains than a ginger bug, as it requires a couple weeks to make your own ginger bug starter (you can learn how to do that by clicking here).
Most importantly, you know exactly what is in your drink. This 2012 study didn’t find any ginger in a ginger ale drink that said it contains ginger root extract. What they did find was quite a bit of grape and apple juices, despite no disclosure of containing those two ingredients.
You’ll need the following to make ginger ale using water kefir:
- live active water kefir grains (click to check out this source for live water kefir grains that I highly recommend)
- jars to ferment in (I use a Fido jar and ferment anaerobically)
- fresh ginger (or you can use this ginger juice)
- lemons (or you can use this lemon juice)
- organic cane sugar (I use the brown sugar from Costco)
- molasses (just a tiny bit, but if you don’t have any that’s OK!)
- jars to bottle for the second ferment (I prefer to make it by the quart, but you can use 8oz or 16oz jars as well – these jars make super fizzy homemade soda simple!)
10 Reasons I Love Ginger Ale Water Kefir
1. It is easy to make. All you need are jars, water, water kefir grains, sugar, ginger and lemons. It’s almost as simple as making lemonade!
2. It tastes great! I have made gallons and gallons and gallons of ginger ale, and whether with water kefir or ginger bug, I have yet to find a person who has not enjoyed the flavor.
3. It is a good natural remedy for upset stomachs, indigestion, GERD, tummy bugs.
For 1 g of fresh ginger root per day for four days, results show a significant decrease in nausea and vomiting and no risk for the mother or her future baby.Stanisiere, Mousset, and Lafay (2018)
Ginger helps to reduce inflammation and its anti-oxidative factors may even help to prevent cancer! It is helpful to reduce symptoms during chemotherapy and can help you avoid gastrointestinal cancers! (Read more about that here, here and here!)
4. It is kid-friendly, and readily accepted by sick kiddos.
5. It is fizzy. Growing up drinking “soft drinks”/sodas, sometimes I like a little bubbly!
6. Unlike “regular soda,” it is health promoting, not harmful to teeth and bones. It does not contain phosphoric acid, nor is it high in sugar that feeds bacteria that contribute to tooth decay. On the contrary, it contains bacteria that help to fight them!
7. It is refreshing. Nothing like a glass of ice cold ginger ale on a hot Florida day!
8. It contains REAL ginger, and has the perfect amount of spice. If you’ve browsed around a bit, you probably have an idea how much I love ginger. I use it in fermented vegetables, smoothies, fermented drinks, and more!
9. It promotes regularity, because of the ginger, lemon juice, probiotics and enzymes! Like apple cider vinegar, this drink is beneficial because it helps break down food. It aids in digestion while fighting harmful bacteria! It also helps to relax stomach muscles, woohoo!
10. It makes an amazing gift! Get some fancy swing-top bottles, tie some bows, and give them to your favorite person!
If you do not already know how to make water kefir, please click here for instructions.
Ginger Ale Water Kefir
- 28 oz prepared water kefir
- 1/4 tsp molasses (optional)
- 1 tbsp sugar (optional)
- 2 large lemons
- 1 oz lemon juice
- 1 oz ginger juice
- 2 inch ginger
- Prepare water kefir as you usually would. If you are completely new to water kefir, you can find instructions here. Otherwise, you want water kefir that has already fermented for 48hrs.
- If using ginger juice and lemon juice, skip to step 5.
- Blend 2 inches of ginger with 4oz of water. Strain and blend with an additional 4oz of water to extract as much of the ginger as you can.
- Juice the 2 large lemons
- In a pitcher, mix ginger juice, the juice of 2 lemons, 1/4 tsp molasses and 1 tbsp sugar. Mix well and taste. It should have great ginger flavor and a hint of lemon as is. If the ginger is not strong enough, use some of the water kefir liquid to blend another inch of ginger. Proceed to the next step once your ginger ale tastes delicious!
- Bottle in flip-top jars or a 1 quart mason jar.
- Allow to ferment for approximately 2 days. Shake as often as you can remember to. When fermentation is complete, you will see bubbles climbing up to the top, and when you open the jar it will hiss at you.
- Move to refrigerator for several hours, or serve over ice. Enjoy!
Please don’t forget to pin this recipe to your fermented beverages board! It will help you to find it easily later, as well as help others find it, too!
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Sunday 22nd of May 2022
[…] am a huge fan of ginger ale (which you can learn how to make using water kefir here) and ginger beer (which you can easily make with a ginger bug, find instructions […]
Wednesday 30th of March 2022
Hi! I am just getting started with water kefir! And I am so excited to try this recipe! Can you please clarify - do you add all 8 onces of ginger liquid if you are blending your own ginger? Or just 1 ounce of the juice you make? Thank you!
Saturday 21st of May 2022
I love the ginger taste to be pretty strong so I do add it all! But you can add a little at a time and taste as you go. The strength of the ginger will increase a little from fermentation, but not much. So put enough that you love it. You can freeze the rest of the ginger juice in a freezer safe mason jar or ice cube tray!
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Tuesday 27th of October 2020
[…] Ginger Ale Water KefirOld-Fashioned Ginger Beer […]
Sunday 12th of July 2020
I've never heard of shaking the bottles during the second fermentation. ? I release pressure every day if i remember. This morning I had a kid blow off as i tried to release it, cause I forgot yesterday, and I'm thinking maybe because it's been so hot here in AZ. (86 inside, we don't have a/c).
Wednesday 27th of May 2020
How long can I store this at room temperature? Or does it need to be refrigerated after 2 days?
Wednesday 27th of May 2020
You can leave longer if needed, but once it is fizzy refrigerate. After that it will continue fermenting and can get a little alcohol taste.