ginger bug

How to Make a Ginger Bug for Healthy Homemade Sodas

The Outdoor Apothecary is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

There’s no need to buy store-bought sodas when you can make your own homemade fermented beverages at home with a ginger bug. This free-range culture is easy to catch and maintain so you can make probiotic drinks all year round

The great news is that, unlike store-bought sodas, these are actually good for you!

ginger bug

What is a Ginger Bug?

A ginger bug is a wild fermented probiotic beverage starter and is the first step to making your own homemade probiotic soda. A ginger bug is a mixture of fresh grated or finely chopped ginger, sugar and water. The natural yeast on the surface of the ginger will feed on the sugar and ferment, creating carbon dioxide which will naturally carbonate your drinks. 

It only takes about 5 days for your ginger bug to start bubbling and become active. After that it’s ready for use!

What Equipment Do You Need?

The only equipment you need to get started with a ginger bug is a jar with a lid (I use these jars) and a strainer. Once your ginger bug is ready to go, you’ll also need some bottles for fermenting the soda (I use these bottles). That’s it!

Why Should You Make Your Own?

Why should you make your own? Since ginger bugs are fermented foods, they’re naturally rich in probiotics, namely lactobacillus bacteria and wild yeasts. These organisms help to support metabolic and digestive health as well as the immune system.

Ginger bug is good for you, especially if you have any gastrointestinal issues. It’s not the enzymes in the ginger that are beneficial, but rather the probiotics that form during fermentation.

The probiotics in ginger bug can help with:

  • IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
  • Acid Reflux
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

Ginger bug sodas also contain far less sugar than store-bought brands. So while brews made with ginger bug are still treats, they’re far better for you than regular soda. Even better: You can customize them to suit your tastes.

Are Sodas Made With a Ginger Bug Alcoholic?

So, is a ginger bug alcoholic? Not really. However, it does have some alcohol in it, similar to kombucha. I don’t consider kombucha to be alcoholic either because the amount of alcohol is so low, but some people do. So, if you are concerned about alcohol, then I would suggest that you try this recipe out before you commit to making a whole batch of soda.

Sodas produced using a ginger bug are technically not considered alcoholic beverages. Wild-yeasts just can’t ferment to alcohol levels much above 1% ABV. Using ginger bug, it’s unlikely to even above 0.5% ABV.

If you want to brew alcoholic ginger beer, then you would need to use commercial brewing yeast. And that is a different sort of recipe.

Making Your Ginger Bug

ginger bug

Wild Fermented Ginger Bug

Barbi Gardiner
There’s no need to buy store-bought sodas when you can make your own homemade fermented beverages at home with a ginger bug. This free-range culture is easy to catch and maintain so you can make probiotic drinks all year round. 
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
7 days
Total Time 7 days 10 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American


  • 3 tbsp finely chopped or grated organic ginger root
  • 1/2 cup sugar white table sugar is best
  • 2 cups water must be non chlorinated
  • Plus additional sugar and ginger for feeding


  • Place the ginger, sugar, and water in a quart-size wide-mouth mason jar. Gently shake until the sugar dissolves.
  • Cover the jar with cheesecloth and lid ring, or a coffee filter and rubber band and set the jar in a warm spot to ferment.
  • Every day for the next 5-7 days, add one tablespoon of finely chopped (or grated) ginger into the jar with an equal portion of sugar.  As you add these ingredients, you should notice some bubbly action in the jar and you may notice a faint yeast smell. These are all signs that fermentation is happening as it should! If you do not see any bubbly action after a week, or if mold forms on the surface, you may need to start again.
  • The ginger bug is ready for use in your homemade soda recipe once bubbles have formed on top. Pour off the amount you need for your soda recipe, and replenish the ginger bug for future recipes.
  • To keep your ginger bug alive, feed it once a day as described above.If you won't be using the ginger bug for a while, you can store it in the refrigerator and feed it once a week. When you're ready to use your ginger bug again, take it out and let it warm up to room temperature. Then resume feeding it daily.


****Give the ginger bug a good stir once or twice a day. I like to put on a plastic lid and give the mixture a gentle shake. 
Keyword ginger bug, lacto fermented, probiotic, wild fermentation
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

3 thoughts on “How to Make a Ginger Bug for Healthy Homemade Sodas”

  1. Hi, thank you for sharing this blog post! There are a lot of important information from this article and I love it.
    In my opinion, Ginger is known to be packed with antioxidants and contains anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger tea may make you believe that this herbal product only has medicinal properties.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top