How to Make a Ginger Bug and Ginger-Mint Lime Soda



How to Make a Ginger Bug

~Making a ginger bug is kind of like making a sourdough starter. It requires feeding daily to get it going. It is the start of many natural, fermented beverages. The mixture of sugar, water, ginger, wild yeasts and bacteria can add a probiotic and fizzy boost to herbal sodas like ginger ale, root beer and fruit sodas. This is probably the easiest of all cultured beverages to get going and maintain.


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How to Make a Ginger Bug
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Cultured Soda
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon organic sugar
  • 1 tablespoond diced or grated fresh ginger
  • Additional sugar and ginger for maintenance
  • 1 quart mason jar
  1. Combine all ingredients in mason jar.
  2. Place a tight lid on the jar, give a good shake and ferment in a warm place for 24 hours.
  3. Everyday for the next week, add another 1 tablespoon of sugar and another 1 tablespoon of fresh grated or chopped ginger. By the end of the week, the liquid will begin to bubble, get sour and fizzy. Now it is ready for soda making.
  4. To keep your ginger bug alive, continue to feed it daily the same proportions of ginger and sugar. Or you may rest it in the fridge which will slow down fermentation and only feed it once a week. To reactivate it, bring it back to room temp and start feeding it daily.


How to Use Your Ginger Bug in Cultured Sodas

Mix 1/4 cup of ginger bug starter into 1 quart of sweetened or flavored liquid. Pour into a bottle with a tight seal and allow to ferment for 2-3 days at room temperature. You can also add your ginger bug to fruit juices to make them more of a probiotic drink and to help eat up some of the sugar.


Ginger Mint Lime Soda

This is one of my favorite summer time drinks ever. It is so refreshing and delicious and full of electrolytes. In order to make this soda, you need with a Ginger Bug, Whey, or Water Kefir Grains.  My favorite method is using a ginger bug.  See recipe above.

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Ginger Mint Lime Lacto-Fermented Soda
Serves: 2 Quarts
  • ½ Cup ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
  • ¾ Cup fresh lime juice
  • ½ - ¾ Cup Rapadura sugar or Organic Cane Sugar
  • pinch sea salt
  • ¼ Cup ginger bug, whey or ¼ cup water kefir grains
  • About 2 quarts filtered water
  • Handful of mint leaves
  1. Place all ingredients in a 2-quart jug or jar.
  2. Stir well and try to dissolve sugar while stirring; cover tightly with lid.
  3. Leave at room temperature for 2-4 days before transferring to the refrigerator. You will know it is done when it is fizzy and little sour. It should not be as sweet as when you first make it as the probiotics in the ginger bug will eat up the sugar. It will make much faster if using water kefir grains. This will keep several weeks well-chilled in the fridge.
  4. To serve, strain into a glass.


  1. Sara says

    Question: if I were to use kefir grains do I leave the whey out of this recipe? Please email response. Thanks.

    • Amanda says

      Yes, you only use one or the other. You can use whey or kefir grains, but not both at the same time. If you use whey, add a little salt, but do not use salt with kefir grains. Good luck!

  2. says

    This sounds yummy, I’ll give making it with whey a try too. The water kefir grains you gave us are doing great and multiplying! We just harvested some ginger and the grains really love it! With the warmer weather approaching, the mint leaves sound like a great idea. Thank you Amanda!

    • Amanda says

      Aloha Susan,

      Great to hear from you! Yes, those water kefire grains are so amazing. I am glad you are still putting them to good use. I made so many delicious concoctions out of them when I was in Kauai. I often made a beverage of passion fruit, tumeric, ginger, lime juice, sugar and water and let that ferment and then added fresh mint. Oh so delicious!! Keep enjoying, I’m jealous you are in the land of passion fruit!! I love that flavor and miss it dearly. Take care and keep in touch! Mahalo, Amanda

    • Amanda says

      You have to make your own whey unless you are one of the lucky people that has access to a farmer that sells whey (a byproduct from making cheese). It is easy to make yourself. Simply pour 1 quart of whole milk plain yogurt into some cheesecloth or thin dish towel over a large measuring cup or bowl and let it drip through slowly. The liquid that drips into your bowl is the whey. It will last for several months. The yogurt will become hardened and a soft cheese. You can add spices and east it just like you would a chevre. Enjoy!

  3. susan says

    a couple of questions as i am new to fermenting. is it ok to use raw milk yogurt for making whey? do you store whey in the fridge? if you use the kefir grains instead of whey, do you use the same amount?

    • Amanda says

      Yes, it is absolutely okay to use raw milk yogurt for making whey. That is ideal, actually. Yes, you will want to store the whey in the fridge but you can leave it out a day or two if you wish to ferment it a bit more than it already is. If you use the kefir grains instead of whey or vice versa, yes, you would use about the same amount. You don’t need as many kefir grains though to make a cultured soda as you do whey.

    • Amanda says

      I am not too exact when it comes to this recipe, but generally I peel and chop the ginger and measure until I have roughly the right amount.

    • Amanda says

      Yes, water kefir grains are a different culture than dairy grains. They are meant for making drinks without dairy but still give you the probiotic benefits.

  4. minka says

    Thank you for this recipe! I cultured yoghurt, strained some, and was wondering what to do with the whey — now I know.

    • Amanda says

      You are welcome. There are many things to do with whey. It is a great starter for many lacto-fermented dishes. It is also great to use when you are soaking grains overnite. I also just simply drink it. It feels really quenching.

    • Amanda says

      Yes, I have also obtained dairy and water kefir grains from Marilyn Kefir Lady and have always been happy with my products.

      Thanks for your input.

  5. Katie says

    I got some tiny white bits of mold on top when I made this. Has that ever happened to you? Is it safe to drink? It smells good and tastes great.

    • Amanda says

      That has never happened to me when making this drink. It has happened when making beet kvass. I think it could possibly be your jars. They need to be washed in really hot water or sterilized before using to make sure nothing unwanted grows in them.

      I assume it is safe to drink, but not for sure.

  6. says

    a word to the wise. Six days are not a couple and refrigerate before opening.

    So I made a modified version of this recipe. Let it set for 7 days then went to open the bottle.

    the 32 ounce bottle promptly and explosively delivered 30 ounces of liquid straight up. I may have had a bit more than 2 ounces left after it was all done but not by much. We have vaulted ceilings and the spray went half way up the vaulted part, and completely covered the ceiling in the kitchen — I was truly amazed at the carnage. Truly unfortunate because the second bottle was spectacular — after some refrigeration and a slow release of pressure.

    So be careful on opening, or get one of those water locks that allows the gas to escape.

    • Amanda says

      Thank you for your warning! Sounds like an adventure in your kitchen. Yes, it is very important not to let these drinks go too long or they can literally explode or spray upon opening! Only ferment for 24-48 hours and then check. If you do not have a pop or fiz, then they likely need longer. Placing in the fridge will help mellow and cure the soda so it also has a better flavor (and will not be so bubbly). Thanks for sharing!!

      • says

        I am with you and Brody about the explosion factor! I had the same thing happen with a lacto-fermented raspberry soda I made recently. I got impatient and opened the first bottle before it had sat in the fridge long enough and KA-PLOWEY! Raspberry everywhere and yes, waaaay up the walls and windows in our kitchen. And, like insult to injury, the brew had no fizz at all and seemed a little slimy. 🙁 In the hopes of a different outcome, I left the remaining bottle on its side in the fridge for over a week and was ready for another explosion when I opened it again, but PHEW, it simply just hummed a little. Every thing stayed in the bottle and the soda had a nice fizz to it, too. Now I’ve got some of your Ginger-Lime-Mint soda in a crock and am looking forward to trying it after it is ready and thoroughly chilled. 🙂 Keep up the good work!

  7. Cindi says

    How do I store water kefir grains. A friend gave me some with no liquid on them and I made water kefir one time. They have been in the frig. for over 2 months. Are they any good? This recipe sounds delicious!
    Thank you for doing what you do Amanada!

    • Amanda says

      Hi there, I imagine your water kefir grains are probably toast as they really need to be stored in a sugar water solution or else they die. When storing them, place them in the fridge in a solution of about 1/2 cup sugar to 2 cups water. They will slow down and be able to live off of the sugar until you use them again. Try to use them again within 3 months. For now, I would suggest starting over and getting some new ones. Good luck!

  8. Amanda A. says

    The varying types of starters are driving my brain crazy! Would you mind helping me out? …

    What are the differences, (chemical/biological/functional), between whey, dairy kefir grains, and lab produced kefir culture powder when fermenting dairy products? Pros/cons of each? Do the same strains of probiotic bacteria develop or are they different?

    Additionally, what are the differences between homemade starter bugs, water kefir grains, and lab produced kefir culture powder for creating water or fruit/veggie kefirs? Pros/Cons? Again, same strains of bacteria develop? Also, why can you add whey, (a dairy by-product), when making veggie or fruit juice kefirs but not dairy grains?

    If all my questions can’t be answered, could you recommend some good resources, especially for understanding where kefir grains originally come from? Thanks so very much in advance!!!

    Amanda A. 😉

    • Amanda says

      This is a huge question with many sub-questions and would take me a very long to reply. I recommend you check out for info about all of this. I may create a post about this sometime in the future but do not have time to answer all of these questions now. If you want to send me back your most important question, I will answer that. Thanks! Amanda

  9. Sara says

    Just thru a few quarts of this together. The ginger-lime-mint is the base, but I made a quart with fresh strawberries added, another has fresh just picked mulberries, and another has tree ripened peaches. Strained some of my Matsoni yogurt last night for fresh whey. Yum!

    • Amanda says

      Yummmmmm!!! Sounds delish! Thanks for the inspiring ideas! I have also made this with raspberries, blueberries and lemon instead of lime. I also like throwing in some kafir lime leaves. That just makes it over the top! Thanks for stopping by and please come back and offer us more inspiration! Amanda

    • Amanda Love says

      Hello, you can subscribe on the home page. Just scroll down on the right and you will see where to sign up. Blessings, Amanda

    • Amanda Love says

      Hi Heidi,

      Oh yes! You can use them forever as long as they stay alive and good. They will just keep growing and growing. Your only challenge will be what to do with all the excess grains!~Enjoy, Amanda Love

  10. Amelia says

    I have a quality powdered dairy whey. Would this still ferment properly? Could the fermentation process be lengthened because of this? How would I find the proper whey/water ratios? I apologize for the barrage of questions, this just sounds so amazing! I have to make it! Thanks

    • Amanda Love says

      Hi Amelia,

      Great question! Powdered whey is not quite the same because it is not “alive” like whey you get from yogurt or cheese or other fermented dairy. You don’t have to use whey for this recipe. It will just take a little bit longer. Let me know if you try it!

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  1. […] Ginger Mint Lime Lacto-Fermented Soda Ginger and mint are powerful digestive herbs. This recipe even calls for rapadura which is an unrefined sugar that still contains minerals and fiber. I would go with the 1/2 cup (or less) recommendation. Even though rapadura is more beneficial than many other forms of sugar, all sweeteners are best consumed in moderation. […]

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