Before I begin with this DIY fermented soda recipe, let me preface that I have never been a soda drinker. Soda (or pop) was not part of my life while growing up in France. I never took to it after moving to the United States. Therefore, I don’t buy it.
My husband, on the other hand, being born and raised in the States and having enjoyed soda as a child, will purchase some on occasion, mainly for birthdays. All my kids do like soda (yuck). The good news is that they also like my water kefir soda. As a mom, I would rather they drink my fermented brew rather than soda any day. As a matter of fact, I always have some on hand.
For years, I have been a kombucha drinker (second ferment). I really enjoy this drink! I heard about water kefir many years ago and I tried making a batch once, without much success. It really didn’t taste that great, the kids didn’t like it. I can’t say it was love at first taste, not EVEN close. I never made it again.
This past summer (2016), I decided to add more fermented foods (and drinks) to my diet. I started drinking a beverage called KeVita. While I found it delicious, the $3 per bottle price point, while not excessive, was putting a dent in my grocery budget. For this reason, I decided to give water kefir another chance.
I bought my water kefir culture online through Cultures for Health. The dehydrated grains came with well written and comprehensive (but simple) instructions, including steps to brew DIY fermented soda (second ferment water kefir). I whipped up my first batch of water kefir in a few days but since I wanted a fizzy drink, I proceeded with the instructions for the second ferment.
It was delicious!
So while I do not care for first ferment water kefir, I am in love with kefir soda. I have been making fermented soda ever since (bye bye kombucha) and I have been drinking it daily. My kids also really seem to enjoy it. I was surprised to find that my oldest daughter, which does like kombucha, really enjoys my DIY fermented soda.
Notes and Tips
I used organic dehydrated sugar. The instructions do state that you may not get as good results with regular white sugar (your soda may not be as carbonated).
In order to make DIY fermented soda, it is recommended that you use a Grolsch-style bottle. I found a six-pack on Amazon (16 oz each) for $18.95. Instead, I bought mine from Trader Joe’s for $2.99 or Sprout’s (for the same price). Trader Joe’s ginger brew is $2.99 for a 32oz bottle. Hubs and the kids drink the ginger brew and I get the bottle. I think it is a fair deal. I now have four of them.
Trader Joe’s ginger brew is $2.99 for a 32oz bottle. Hubs and the kids drink the ginger brew and I get the bottle. I think it is a fair deal. I now have four of them.
My most recent Grolsch bottle acquisition was from Sprout’s. Their sparkling lemonade comes in Grolsch-style bottles for $2.99 per bottle as well. Honestly, I prefer the bottles from Trader Joe’s because they are more compact and fit much better in my fridge. The bottles I bought at Sprout’s are much taller and only fit on the door of my fridge.
DIY Fermented Soda
In order the make water kefir, these are the supplies you will need
- A glass container: I first used a wide-mouth quart-size jar. I have now upgraded to a half-gallon wide mouth Mason jar.
- A coffee filter, very fine cheesecloth, or a sprouting mesh lid (I use the mesh lid (easiest) or a coffee filter
- The Mason jar screw band lid which comes with the jar of using the coffee filter or mesh lid
- A rubber band if using cheesecloth
- Measuring cups
- Raw sugar
- Good quality fruit juice in a flavor of your choice: I buy organic 100% fruit juice.**
- A fine mesh strainer
- Grolsch-style bottles (see notes and tips above)
- Water kefir grains
- A funnel
**Note: as far as juices come, these are the flavors we have tried so far: blueberry, apricot, cranberry, dark cherry, srawberry lemonade. My favorite was a cranberry blueberry blend from Knudsen.
- First, because the kefir grains arrive to you dehydrated, you must activate your water kefir grains. This process takes 3 to 4 days. At the end of that time, your will discard the first batch. I used mine to water my plants.
- You will then proceed to making your very first batch of water kefir. It really is rather simple.
Place 1/4 cup of raw sugar into your jar, add 1/2 cup of HOT water. Mix until the sugar is dissolved.
Add about 3 cups of cold water. When the water-sugar mixture reaches 68 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, you will add the water kefir grains.
Place your coffee filter on top of your jar and secure with the band lid. Leave your brew alone for 24 to 48 hours in a warm spot. I place mine on top of my freezer.
Making DIY Fermented Soda aka Second Ferment Water Kefir
- Strain your first batch and set the grains aside to make your next batch
- In a Grolsch-style bottle, with a funnel, pour 1/2 cup of juice into the bottle
- Pour some water kefir to one inch from the top
- Secure with the lid and set in a warm place for 24 to 48 hours
If you intend on brewing your soda for longer than 24 hours gently burp it. I try to burp mine after 12 hours. I learned the hard way that DIY fermented soda produces A LOT of carbonation when I wore my first batch.