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Ginger Beer Recipe

Learn how to turn your ginger bug starter into a fizzy ginger beer, perfect for making cocktails or drinking by itself.

| Winter 2019

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Follow the ginger bug starter recipe to make this fizzy ginger beer! Whether you’re fermenting a beverage or food, it’s important to consider the type of water you use.  Here’s a list of types of water to use, and which types to avoid before beginning to make the ginger beer.

Types of Water to Use in Fermentation:

Good Options:

  • Bottled water: Collected from rivers Or streams.
  • Spring water: Straight out of the ground and bottled, or sourced from a community spring.
  • Well water: Generally high in minerals.

Options to Avoid:

  • Distilled water: All traces of minerals have been removed during the distilling process.
  • Municipal (tap) water: Generally contains chlorine and fluoride, as well as other chemicals.

Treating water

(Water containing chlorine can be treated,and in some cases, fluoride can be removed.)

  • Boiling: Removes chlorine, but not fluoride.
  • Basic charcoal filtration: Removes chlorine, but not the fluoride.
  • Enhanced filtration: Removes chlorine; certain models may also remove the fluoride.
  • Reverse osmosis: Removes chlorine and most minerals and fluoride.

Fermentation Time

Fermentation type: Lacto
Primary Fermentation: 1 to 3 days
Secondary Fermentation: 14 days
Total Time: 15 to 17 days

Yield: 4-1/4 cups


  • 4 - 1⁄4 cups water
  • One 1-inch piece fresh organic ginger (unpeeled), thinly sliced, or more to taste
  • 1⁄2 cup organic white or rapadura (panela) sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup ginger bug
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. Pour half of the water into a saucepan, and add the sliced ginger. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Take the mixture off the heat, add the sugar, and stir to dissolve.
  3. Add the remaining water. Once the mixture has completely cooled, transfer to a wide-mouth jar for fermenting.
  4. Pour in the ginger bug, keeping out the gingery sediment. Add the lemon juice and give the mixture a good stir.
  5. Cover with a cheesecloth and a rubber band. Leave to ferment at room temperature until the mixture becomes bubbly. This may take anywhere from one day to several days or longer, depending on the room temperature and the potency of your starter.
  6. Once the mix is bubbly, you can bottle it in a 1-liter stoppered bottle. The longer you leave it before bottling, the more alcoholic the brew will be.
  7. Let the bottle stand at room temperature until you see carbonation bubbles. This usually takes around 14 days, but it may be shorter or longer. Burp your bottle frequently, because if you let your bottle over-carbonate, you’ll have exploding, sticky ginger beer all over everything (I speak from experience).
  8. Once carbonated, you can refrigerate your ginger beer, which will slow down the carbonation. It’ll still continue to pressurize, so continue to burp it regularly.

Learn more about your ginger bug by checking out these articles:

This recipe is excerpted from Superfoods for Life: Cultured and Fermented Beverages by Meg Thompson © 2014 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc.



May 16-17, 2020
Nashville, Tennessee

EVENT UPDATE: Unfortunately, we've had to postpone our Tennessee FAIR to 2021 due to COVID-19.


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