This non-alcoholic fermented beverage is created with the help of making a ginger bug. I got my recipe from Sandor Katz's Wild Fermentation. For those of you who don't know, Sandor Elliot Katz is a fermentation genius. Aside from touting the health benefits of fermentation, which are huge, Katz makes the idea of fermentation way less daunting than some other authors. He makes me excited to begin fermenting things. And going through the process of starting a new ferment makes me feel like a creative scientist, which is an added bonus!
Here's how to make a ginger bug:
In a clean, hopefully sterilized mason jar or bowl, place a couple of tablespoons of grated/minced ginger, with the skin still on, and a tablespoon or 2 of turbinado (or even white) sugar. Add a cup of water. Stir, place cheesecloth on top, and let sit. For the next couple of days, add a bit more ginger and a bit more sugar (but not more water), until the mixture develops bubbles on the surface. Once the bubbles appear, you know that some friendly bacteria are eating that sugar and releasing CO2, the stuff that makes your soda bubbly. Congrats. You have created a Ginger Bug!
Now, bring a pot of water to boil. 4 c water, 2 c sugar, 6 inches grated or minced ginger, skin on!
Let this ginger base cool. Add juice of 2 lemons, 12 more cups of water, and when it is definitely cooled completely, add your ginger bug! Stir well. Strain through cheese cloth or fine mesh sieve, and bottle in sterilized bottles. I used these awesome fellers with swing tops. Place bottles in a dark place, and let ferment for 2 or more weeks, then move to the fridge for a couple of days and enjoy with ice, plain, or whiskey!