I've made and enjoyed quite a few fermented sodas, but this one is definitely a favorite. This soda gets its carbonation from a Ginger Bug—a Scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) similar to that of Kombucha but made by feeding fermented ginger a mix of fresh ginger and simple syrup. Ginger Bugs are easy to maintain and can make a plethora of naturally carbonated sodas, the most popular being Ginger Beer. If you're new to the world of Ginger Bugs, I recommend reading Sandor Katz's recipe. —Rae Friedman
Hibiscus Syrup, + 4 tsp Separated
In This Recipe
Combine hibiscus and water in a medium-sized pot. Bring water to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the mixture has reduced by half.
Add sugar and stir until fully dissolved.
Strain syrup through a fine-mesh seive. Once cooled, the syrup can be used for the soda or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Combine ingredients in a 32 oz glass jar. Stir together vigorously. Cover with a breathable lid. Cheesecloth works well, but a corresponding jar lid placed but not screwed on will do just fine.
Store jar away from direct sunlight in a room temperature place, and allow to ferment for 1-2 days, or until bubbles/foam has developed along the top.
Strain soda through a fine-mesh sieve. Bottle in clean, 8 or 16 oz fermentation-proof flip-top bottles. Cleaned recycled plastic water bottles will do just fine in a pinch. Be sure to leave around an inch of headspace while bottling.
To promote more carbonation, top off each bottle with an additional tsp of hibiscus syrup per 8 oz of soda.
Allow bottles to secondary ferment for another 1-2 days, until bubbly. Carefully burp once daily by opening the lid to release a little bit of pressure. Overfilled bottles may explode, so be sure to do this over a sink.
Transfer to the refrigerator and consume within a couple of weeks. Keep in mind, this is a living ferment and will continue to ferment while in the refrigerator, just at a slower rate.