This recipe uses a fermented ginger “bug” as the starter for the ginger beer. It’s super easy to make and you can feed it periodically, keeping it alive for future batches of ginger beer.

Know that this is not an instantaneous process – you have to grow the ginger bug, then make the ginger beer, and then allow the ginger beer to carbonate…the entire process can take from a few days up to a week or longer, depending on your local conditions.


Ginger Bug:

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 Tablespoon fresh Kahili Ginger, chopped with the peel left on

2 cups room temperature water

Ginger beer:
1 cup thinly sliced fresh Kahili Ginger, unpeeled
1/2 cup sugar + 1/4 cup rice malt syrup OR 3/4 cup rice malt syrup
2 lemons (zest and juice)
6 cups water
1/2 cup ginger bug


Make the ginger bug. Combine the sugar, ginger and water in a jar with a lid. Let the wild bacteria and yeast do their work overnight. You can tell it’s working when you see gas bubbles inside. If there’s not much action, add an extra Tablespoon each of sugar and ginger. Wait up to 4 days for activity.


Once you have a viable ginger bug, make the ginger beer. Bring the water, sugar, syrup, and sliced ginger to a boil in a medium pot.


Turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.


Cool completely to body temperature and add the zest and juice of 2 lemons.


Transfer to a jar and add the ginger bug. Stir well and allow it to sit on the counter to 2-3 days in hot weather (longer if it’s cool), or until slightly bubbly. Stir occasionally.


Once the mixture has bubbles, strain the liquid into clean, sterile bottles. Allow it to carbonate for another 2-3 days at room temperature.


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