Because lately I’ve been really enjoying rum, and my spring garden is erupting with mint, the idea to make a mojito mixer was a no brainer. Drunk as a soda without alcohol, this ginger bug soda is crisp, tart, and refreshing.
Like kombucha and water kefir, ginger bug sodas (and almost any fermented drink really) can always be tailored to suit your tastes and interests. For example, just add some shredded ginger to the lime-mint wort recipe below, and you’ve transformed this drink into a mint lime ginger beer, which is also perfect for a mule cocktail!
Although some sugar source is needed to feed the ginger “bug” culture (this is the essence of fermenting, after all), even this can vary greatly depending on your tastes and health choices.
Side note: If you need to make a ginger bug starter culture, which is an easy process but that takes several days to a week, click here.
This soda recipe (which can also serve as a delightful mojito mixer) is not overly sweet. A 12 oz. serving has under 130 calories, while a Coca-Cola has 150. It can also be organic sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup. As desired, the sweetness level can be decreased (or increased) as well. Lastly, it has healthy probiotic bacteria.
So let’s get started!
You will need: 32 oz. / liter flip-top bottle, bottling funnel, medium cooking pot, wooden spoon, mesh strainers, citrus press, measuring cups
- 3.75 cups filtered or distilled water
- 1/2 cup lime juice (2-3 limes is normally sufficient)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- ~15-25 g mint leaves (no thick stems)
- 1/4 cup ginger bug starter culture
1.) In a pot, combine the water and sugar and warm just enough to dissolve all the sugar. Meanwhile, juice the limes.
2.) While still slightly warm, muddle the mint thoroughly with your thumb and add it to the wort (the sweetened liquid). Also add in the lime juice. Lightly stir and let sit for around 30-60 minutes. Ensure it is room temp before bottling.
3.) From the ginger bug, strain out a quarter cup of the liquid through the mesh strainer into a quarter cup.
4.) Using the funnel with a strainer over it, add the ginger bug to a liter bottle. Then, after straining the wort from any leaves and debris, it may be passed through the final strainer into the bottle. (Picture below.) Leave a little headspace. There may still be a little extra wort, which you can drink or discard.
5.) Cap and allow to sit out of direct sunlight for 2-3 days (the longer the wait, the more carbonation).
6.) After waiting for the desired length, place in refrigerator overnight.
That’s it! It’s ready to be used either as a delicious, refreshing drink straight up, or used as a mixer.
As a mixer: fill a glass with ice, add 4-6 oz. of the mixer, followed by 2 oz. rum. (Modify for a weaker or stronger drink as preferred.) You can garnish with fresh mint (muddled) and/or lime slice.
Sugar is normally added to a mojito but it’s already in your mixer so more sugar isn’t needed. But you can consider making a sugar/lime rim. Do this at the beginning by cutting a line into a lime slice, place it on the glass rim and rub it around, then turn the glass upside down and rub in sugar. The lime juice on the rim will make the sugar stick.