If you missed my post What is Water Kefir? you probably want to check that out. Today I want to tell you how to make flavored soda from water kefir. In this post I will refer to the water kefir (a.k.a. tibicos) SCOBY as "grains." This term refers to the look of them, as in "grains of sand", they are in no way grains like wheat, barley, oats, rye, or spelt.
If you're starting from scratch, you will need to acquire water kefir grains. I ordered my grains from Keysands, which sells dehydrated and live grains. They have excellent, friendly customer service, so email them if you have questions. Follow their instructions to re-hydrate or revive your grains.
Now that you have a healthy batch of grains... Lets get started!
- Around 1/4-1/2 cup of live water kefir grains
- 4 tablespoons sugar, preferably organic (not honey or any sugar substitute like agave or stevia)
- 4 cups high mineral, chlorine-free water
- Optional: a drizzle of blackstrap molasses, a pinch of baking soda, NATURAL salt, calcium carbonate, a piece of a clean egg shell, or other mineral supplement, in order to increase the mineral content of your water.
- Juice or other flavoring of your choice (see suggestions below)
- 1 or 2 pitchers or large jars
- Plastic mesh strainer
- Glass bottles with tight fitting lids like milk/yogurt style bottles or grolsch-style flip top bottles. A jar will work, it'd just not as nice for serving.
- Something non-metal to stir the sugar
- Dissolve sugar and any optional mineral supplement in water.
- Add your kefir grains, cover with a cloth, and let sit for 20-40 hours.
- Strain out the grains by pouring through the strainer from one vessel to another.
- Distribute the liquid water kefir into bottles of your choice and add juice, etc.(see below).
- Cap tightly and leave at room temperature for 18-36 hours, depending on how much carbonation you desire. I like to use screw caps, because they allow me to monitor the pressure by pushing on the lid.
- Refrigerate prior to drinking or pour over ice.
- Refrigerate after desired fermentation/carbonation period to slow fermentation. Drink within two or three days. The soda is still safe fr longer, but at some point your kefir will reach the legal definition of "low alcohol", as opposed to the "dealcoholized" range which is more acceptable for the whole family.
- During long storage, release pressure periodically to avoid a messy explosion.
I like to mix 1 part water kefir soda with 2-3 parts water and a large chunk of ice in a large water bottle and drink it all day.
Some of our favorite water kefir soda combos:
- Pomegranate-Gingerale: 3-4 parts water kefir, 1 part pomegranate juice, sweetened us fine, several thin slices of fresh ginger, 20-30 hours bottled (See video)
- Peach soda: 3 parts water kefir, 1 part peach "nectar" - 18-20 hours bottled
- Sparkling apple cider: 3 parts water kefir, 1 part apple juice (preferably fresh squeezed, but from concentrate works fine), a stick of cinnamon- 24-40 hours bottled
- "Lemonana" mint lemonade: (FYI I like it mild, you can add more lemon juice to your taste) In a 1 liter bottle, put 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar (optional, add to taste), half a well-washed lemon, thinly sliced, whole sprigs of mint (maybe 5-7 clean sprigs), 6+ hours bottles, optional: strain through a fine mesh strainer if your mint is an unappetizing mess.
- Pear, mango
- Blueberry, pomegranate (recommended by Keysands, I haven't tried it)
- Grape juice (like champagne)
- Fresh squeezed orange and grapefruit juice (I didn't have any problems with the acidity, it got nice and bubbly.)
- Carrot and apple
- Creme Soda: just add vanilla extract or vanilla sugar, bottle until bubbly
- Gingerale: I use fresh ginger and homemade vanilla sugar
What flavors would you like to try?