Here in Georgia we’re lucky to be able to grow some of the world’s greatest peaches. And even though we’re the “Peach State,” our neighbors like Tennessee and North Carolina also grow amazing peaches. This time of year, I love making different dishes with these local and regional fruits. I have an out of this world cobbler recipe I’ll have to share some time.
The sharp, zingy flavor of ginger just seems to be born to mix with the sweet, syrupy taste of peaches. And so this drink was born! It’s super refreshing by itself. I also use it as a mixer for a peach bourbon mule which is DY-NA-MITE!
Like kombucha and water kefir, ginger bug sodas (and almost any cultured drink really) can always be tailored to suit your tastes and interests. This is one recipe I love but you can tweak it how ever you want. Maybe add some mint or lime to the mix?
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.
You are free to decrease or increase the sugar level; this recipe is about 20% less sugar than Coke. However, some sugar is needed for the ginger big culture to feed on, which produces the carbonation. If you want a mildly sweet drink, I would go down to about 1/3 cup sugar.
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.
So let’s get started!
You will also want a lipped liquid container large enough to hold your strained wort, such as this:
- 3.5 cups filtered or distilled water
- 4-5 peaches (~1-1.25 lbs. before pitted), washed, pitted, and quartered
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 nub ginger (~30-40g for ginger “beer” style soda, ~15-20g for ginger ale style), grated
- 1/4 cup ginger bug starter culture
Tip: For a peach-ginger-lemon-mint version, I’ve added muddled mint to the wort when it was warm but no longer hot, and then juice of a lemon added when the wort cooled. This is to protect their delicate flavors. Then strain the mint and bottle as usual.)
For a stronger peach flavor, you can also just start with a peach juice product (no need to add more sugar). Using the juice from juiced peaches is another option. It is delicious but can form a thin layer of yeast buildup towards the top of the jar (it’s basically a non-issue but worth knowing up front).
1.) In a pot, combine the water, sugar, quartered peach pieces and grated ginger. (This mix is called the wort.)
2.) Bring to boil, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for at least ten minutes.
3.) Turn off heat and allow to come to room temperature (can place covered pot in fridge to speed up process).
4.) Once the wort is room temperature, strain out 1/4 cup of your ginger bug starter liquid and place it in the fliptop bottle.
5.) Next, remove the peach pieces from the pot and set aside in a bowl (they will hold and leak liquid which you want to save to use later).
6.) Strain the remaining wort in the pot through the fine mesh strainer into the lipped 4-cup container
7.) From there, pass the liquid through 1-2 mesh strainers again, into the bottling funnel (which also may have a built-in strainer).
8.) Transfer all the ginger bug and wort into the bottle.
Note: you may notice that the liquid level still seems low. Remember that we reserved the peach pieces. They are likely holding a fair amount of liquid and flavor. If you need more wort to fill the bottle, the peach pieces can be wrapped in wax paper or saran wrap, and thoroughly squeezed to extract the liquid. (You can squeeze it into the lipped 4-cup measuring cup.) This liquid should also be strained on its way to the bottle.
Ferment length: Now that the bug and wort have filled the bottle, it should be sealed and kept at room temperature for about three days (unless it appears quite active and bubbly before then), and then kept overnight in the fridge. You may notice that the peach color fades somewhat over the first day; it is normal. Once it has sat overnight in the fridge, it is ready to go!
This drink (and ginger bug drinks in general) can get quite active! Don’t shake it and I recommend opening it slowly, with your other hand pressed down over the fliptop, over a sink.
And don’t forget to try it with some bourbon and maybe a few dashes of peach bitters like this:
Enjoy and happy fermenting!