Natural, fermented raspberry soda has a lovely floral sweetness and delicate effervescence that quenches your thirst just right on a hot summer afternoon. And since it’s naturally fermented, the drink is positively alive with beneficial bacteria, acting like a digestive tonic.
How to Make Fermented Raspberry Soda
Like other fermented drinks, this raspberry soda takes a few days to culture, and it’s worth your time. It’s delicately sweet – almost dry – and wonderfully effervescent. And, if you use a ginger bug, it has the faintest touch of fresh ginger which complements the raspberries nicely.
First, you’ll start by simmering raspberries and the lightest touch of sugar in water. Not long enough to make them jammy, of course. But, you’ll want to simmer them just until the sugar dissolves, and then let the raspberries steep in the water until it cools to room temperature. That’s long enough for the raspberries to impart their flavor, aroma, and vivid red color.
Next, strain the cooled raspberry water into a pitcher. Then, whisk in your ginger bug or another starter culture like water kefir, jun tea or fresh and active whey. They key here is to use a starter that contains plenty of active beneficial microbes and probiotics to give life to your raspberry soda.
After that, all you have to do is bottle the soda base, seal your bottles and wait a few days. Your soda will ferment quickly in a hot kitchen, and more slowly in a cool one. Transfer it to the fridge for a few days to allow bubbles to set, and then enjoy it over ice.
Fermented Raspberry Soda Recipe
- 7 cups water
- 2 tablespoons whole, unrefined cane sugar
- 6 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
- 1 cup ginger bug
- Warm the raspberries, sugar and water together in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar fully dissolves. Then, turn off the heat and allow the soda base to cool to room temperature.
- Strain the soda base into a pitcher, discarding the raspberries. Stir in the strained ginger bug.
- Pour the raspberry soda base into flip-top bottles, allowing 1 to 2 inches of headspace. seal the bottles, and allow them to ferment at room temperature 2 to 3 days, keeping in mind they'll ferment faster at warm temperatures and more slowly in a cool kitchen. Transfer the bottles to the fridge to allow the bubbles to set, about 3 days. Open carefully and serve over ice.
Making fermented sodas at home is marvelously easy. After all, you only mix, pour and wait. Nevertheless, there’s a few tips that can make sure your raspberry soda comes out every time.
- Use good-quality fruit. Your soda will only be as good as what you put into it. Fruit that’s over-ripe or molded will introduce undesirable microbes into your soda, and reduce the likelihood of success.
- Cool everything to room temperature before adding the starter. The microbes in your starter are sensitive to heat. So, if you add them to hot raspberry water, they may die or become damaged.
- Stir your starter really well. Yeast in starters like ginger bug, kombucha and water kefir will sink. Accordingly, stirring them well incorporates them evenly into your raspberry water. And that means more even bubbles.
- Strain the raspberries without pressing. Pressing your raspberries may increase the sediment in your brew, resulting in cloudiness.
- Ferment them in a cooler. Homemade sodas may explode due to carbon dioxide buildup. Watching your temperature can help mitigate this, as can burping bottles, but you can also ferment them in a cooler at room temperature.
- Open carefully over the sink. This fermented raspberry soda can get quite lively, so open it over the sink to keep your kitchen clean.
From time to time, you might notice that your soda develops a film at the surface. Or maybe it never developed a fizz. Maybe it was too sour, or too sweet. There’s a few ways to troubleshoot your soda making.
- Your soda never got fizzy. A poor seal and a dead starter are the two most likely culprits. Next time, make sure your starter is active and fresh, and ferment in flip-top bottles with a tight seal.
- Some bottles were fizzy, others weren’t. Remember to stir your starter really well before adding it to your raspberry water.
- Your brew developed a white film at the surface. This could be kahm yeast, or it could be sediment – especially when you use whey.
- The soda’s too sweet or too sour. You can make this soda successfully with up to 1 cup of sugar, and you may make it with as little as 2 teaspoons.