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RECIPE: How to make fermented sodas


Pine needle and lemon infusion fermenting in a kilner jar

Whether you're trying to reduce how much booze you drink or are looking for another way to add more live microbes into your diet, making your own living fermented sodas is for you!


There are a couple of methods you can use to make a fermented, fizzy, slightly sweet drink with a hint of tang - and both are pretty easy and straightforward! The options for different flavours of fermented soda are as limitless as your imagination (to a point!). Some of the best ingredients we've made sodas with are: ginger, flowers (elderflower, flowering currants, magnolia, sumac), pine needles, lemon and lime, raspberries and using many other fresh or dried fruits,


Fermented sodas are best consumed between 1-2 weeks after refrigeration, as they can sometimes get too sour or develop off/yeasty flavours. Having said that sometimes straight after bottling they aren't at peak flavour so take a couple of days to mature in the fridge. It varies between batches and with different ingredients used so remember to keep tasting to track what's going on!


The recipes below are for fermented sodas flavoured with flower petals. A wide range can be used, for example, rose, magnolia, sumac, flowering currants and elderflower. But once you've got the principles down you can experiment with different ingredients and infusions.

Three different types of wild ingredient sodas fermenting - alexanders, pine and magnolia
Wild ingredient fermented sodas fermenting

Soda with a bug (starter):


See our blog on how to make a ginger bug, it gives tips on other ingredients to make a bug with! The basic concept here is similar to when making sourdough: we cultivate wild yeasts in a jar, feeding them regularly to provide a store of yeasts that we can then use to kickstart fermentation in a sweet, flavourful liquid.


Equipment - saucepan, wooden spoon, 2 litre bottle (swing-top glass or recycled plastic)

Ingredients - 1800ml water, 144g sugar (8% sugar), 50g finely chopped petals, 80ml strained wild bug liquid


1. Make sure your bug is happy and bubbly by feeding it regularly with sugar and a small amount of water for a few days before you make your soda.

2. Add 1/2 water to a saucepan along with the sugar and petals. Bring to a boil, simmer for 5 mins, then take off the heat.

3. Strain through a sieve into a jug squeezing out all the liquid. Add remaining water and make sure mixture is cooler than body temperature, then add the wild bug starter liquid and stir.

4. Pour into the bottle and seal. Gently invert bottle 3 times daily. DON'T DO THIS IF EXCESSIVE BUBBLES ARE PRESENT.

5. Leave at room temperature for 24-72 hours until bubbly. NOTE: Once carbonation is obvious you can place in the fridge OR carry on fermenting to decrease sugar and increase alcohol production. IMPORTANT: if left at room temperature open bottle 3-5 times a day to let off pressure and make sure to face the cap away from you or anyone else.

5. Once it's reached the flavour and fizziness you desire, stick in the fridge and enjoy!

Chopped magnolia petals steeping in water
Magnolia petal infusion

IMPORTANT: Make sure to let off pressure in your bottles several times a day so you don't have exploding bottles! Using plastic bottles allows you to keep an eye on how bubbly things are getting with less risk of accidents. Alternatively, transfer to a container with an airlock system to maximise alcohol production. Note that carbonation will be lost if you use an airlock, but you'll achieve something closer to a slightly alcoholic young wine as a result.


Soda without a bug (starter):


Wild fermentation is what we're using here, rather than culture or starter dependent fermentation which is what we're using with a bug. The basic concept here is similar to starter-dependent, except we're utilising the naturally occurring yeasts found in abundance on flowers, fruits and unripe pine cones to kickstart fermentation directly in a sweet, flavourful liquid! We do this by adding the yeasty ingredients directly to our sweet liquid, rather than cultivating them beforehand. You can either cold-steep all your ingredients together or heat the flavourings and then add your yeast source. Either way works fine just with different pros and cons; cold-steeping is quicker but you might end up with a final soda that has less overall flavour. The recipe below uses the heating method.


Equipment - saucepan, wooden spoon, 2 litre bottle (swing-top glass or recycled plastic)

Ingredients - 1800ml water, 144g sugar (8% sugar), 50g finely chopped petals, yeast source (roughly chopped) - 1 lemon or 2 limes or 3 unripe pinecones or 8 raspberries


1. Add 1/2 water to a saucepan along with the sugar and half the petals. Bring to a boil, simmer for 5 mins, then take off the heat.

2. Strain through a sieve into a jug squeezing out all the liquid. Add remaining water and make sure mixture is cooler than body temperature.

3. Pour into the bottle followed by the yeast source and seal. Gently invert bottle 3 times daily.

5. Leave at room temperature for 24 hours until bubbly. NOTE: Once carbonation is obvious you can place in the fridge OR carry on fermenting to decrease sugar and increase alcohol production. IMPORTANT: if left out, open bottle 3-5 times a day to let off pressure and make sure to face the cap away from you or anyone else.

5. Once it's reached the flavour and fizziness you desire, stick in the fridge and enjoy! You can strain out the remaining petals if desired to make an easier drink too.


Sumac, magnolia and flowering currants ready for fermenting
Sumac, magnolia and flowering currants ready for fermenting

Had a go? We want to know! Tag us @craftypickleco on Facebook and Instagram 🙏


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