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11-19-2012, 11:41 AM
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I tried making soda from a ginger bug starter for the first time, but it doesn't taste good and nobody wants to drink it. I'm wondering if something's wrong or this is the way it's supposed to be and we just don't care for this kind of thing.
For my first attempt I figured ginger ale would be the natural choice as it obviously couldn't be negatively affected by the taste of ginger imparted by the ginger bug. I followed a recipe I found online. I left it in a sealed glass bottle to carbonate for 24 hours, and it does have small bubbles rising in it, though not a ton - definitely not as fizzy as store-bought soda. I have no idea if this is the way it's supposed to be, as the photos I've seen showed a drink that seemed very full of large bubbles. My soda bubbles aren't really rising to the top as they would in a freshly opened bottle of sparkling water, but you see these tiny effervescent bubbles left in the bottom of the cup when you empty out most of it. Also, I'd kind of thought it would be at least somewhat see-through, but it's completely opaque.
The worst part, though, is the taste. It is pretty dry and has a yeasty flavor. And, it has a pretty strong burn from the ginger. Which makes sense, I guess, as fresh ginger does burn, I just don't see how you could drink a soda that stings your tongue. My kids were so excited to try our own homemade healthy soda but after one taste they want nothing to do with it. I tried adding some extra water, sugar, and lemon juice to see if that would improve the taste and left it to carbonate for a few more hours. When I added the sugar, a giant fizz geyser shot up and made a big mess. Which I wasn't expecting since it's not all that fizzy. I hope the bottle won't explode in the next few hours.
So now I'm trying to decide if I should waste more ingredients trying to make another flavor of soda from my live ginger bug. I bought some strawberries to use for that purpose, but now I'm thinking maybe all lacto-fermented ginger bug sodas will end up tasting dry and yeasty because that is their nature and maybe we're better off just eating the strawberries as is.
Any input from someone with experience would be welcome.