This homemade soda recipe isn’t your typical fizzy drink. It’s packed full of gut healthy probiotics, enzymes and no artificial colors or sweeteners. Cherry limeade soda is one of the most delicious fermented beverages, made with real fruit juice, a little sugar and whey. Start fermenting a bottle of this probiotic soda today!
Hot and sweltering.
That is what our summer has been like thus far.
It’s not completely uncommon to have a couple of weeks in the 90s in Ohio. But these past couple of summers have been abnormal, to say the least. And since us homesteaders spend much of our summer time outdoors, tending gardens and raising livestock, we need a little refreshment to cool us down and put a little pep back in our step.
Sun tea is definitely a summer staple in our kitchen. Along with a glass of lemonade now and then. But sometimes the body craves more. Shall I admit it? A sugary snow cone … a tall glass of Pepsi. The kinds of refreshments full of corn syrup, artificial flavoring and unnatural coloring. But don’t be judgmental. We all have our weaknesses.
However, most of the time we stick to the straight and narrow path of eating real, nutritious food that makes us feels good.
So when my husband comes in after mowing our lawn with sweat dripping into his eyes, he needs a drink to quench his thirst and cool down his body. A whey soda is just the drink to do that. He loves the flavor and bubbly drink. And I love that it fills his gut with good bacteria and plenty of enzymes.
There are a variety of fermented drinks that you can make at home. Everything from kombucha and water kefir to jun tea and kvass. I find the easiest fermented drink to create is a soda made with whey from kefir or yogurt. In this soda recipe, I turn a jug of cherry limeade into a fizzy, fruity drink full of probiotics. It is delicious and the perfect summer drink to keep you hydrated.
What is Kefir Soda?
Kefir soda is a bubbly, probiotic rich drink. Simply strain the whey out of milk kefir, mix it into juice or a sugar water and the bacteria in the whey converts the sugar into lactic acid, creating a tasty fermented drink.
What is the Difference Between Water Kefir and Kefir Soda?
The difference between water kefir and kefir soda is the type of culture you use. Water kefir is made with water kefir grains or crystals. When you make kefir soda, you use the whey strained from milk kefir. If you already have milk kefir around, straining the whey out to create a probiotic pop is much easier than constantly maintaining water kefir grains.
How to Get Whey
The easiest method to collect whey is to strain it from a cultured dairy product such as milk kefir or homemade yogurt. Place cheesecloth or a coffee filter into a mesh strainer. Set the strainer over a bowl and allow the whey to drip out for about 12 hours. I often will place the bowl inside the fridge overnight. The remaining translucent liquid that can be slightly yellow in color is called the whey.
Best Bottles for Fermenting
When fermenting, use high-quality, thick glass bottles that are meant for brewing beer such as a clear glass jug or a Grolsch bottle. Because of the pressure built up from the natural carbonation the bottles can explode. Using cheap or decorative bottles from a craft store is not recommended. If your brewing bottle has a lot of pressure, simply pop the top daily to release some of the fizz. This will help to prevent it from exploding.
Best Place to Ferment
Kefir grains love warm temperatures. During the summer when I use the kefir whey to create a probiotic soda, I leave the bottles on the counter in our kitchen where it is regularly 75-80° F. When the weather turns cold in the fall and winter months, the temperature in our home is much cooler, approximately 65° F. The cooler temperature slows down the speed of fermentation quite a bit. To keep the fermented soda happy, I suggest placing the bottles in a warm place in your home such as in the kitchen or near a wood stove.
Cherry Limeade Kefir Soda
Stay cool and satisfied this summer with a glass of cherry limeade probiotic soda. Incredibly easy to make this naturally carbonated, lightly sweetened soda is full of flavor and gut healthy bacteria.
Makes: 1 half gallon
Ingredients to Make Cherry Limeade
1/2 cup sugar
6 1/2 cups water, divided
1/2 cup whey
1/2 cup cherry juice
3 Tbs lime juice
How to a Gut Healthy Drink
In a saucepan over medium heat, add 3 cups of water and sugar. Warm until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside and cool to room temperature before adding the whey and juice. (Or place the sugar mixture into the fridge to speed up the cooling process.)
In a half gallon glass container, such as clear glass jug or mason jar, add the remaining 3 1/2 cups of water, whey, cherry juice, lime juice and cooled sugar mixture. Seal the jar with a tight lid and allow to ferment for 2 to 6 days, depending on the temperature of the room.
When the soda has finished fermenting, it should be very fizzy. Either place the liquid directly into the fridge to chill or transfer the liquid to airtight bottles such as these Grolsch flip-top bottles. Serve chilled or over ice. Consume within one to two weeks.
Fresh whey is a must in this recipe. The older the whey is, the longer it will take to ferment your soda and the less likely it will create carbonation. When I create a homemade soda, I use kefir whey that is no more than a couple of days old.
Do you prefer your soda to be extra carbonated? Second ferment your kefir soda by transferring the liquid to an airtight Grolsch bottle and fermenting for an additional 1-3 days. Mind you, keep an eye on the bottles as kefir whey can turn the soda into alcohol if it ferments too long.
To quickly make another batch of this delicious gut healthy soda, use 1/3 cup of the finished cherry limeade soda to start a new bottle. Simply add 1/3 cup of the kefir soda to the other ingredients and ferment again. The liquid acts as a starter culture and ferments the soda within just one day! I learned this fantastic tip from Donna Schwenk over at Cultured Food Life.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 1/2 cups water, divided
- 1/2 cup whey
- 1/2 cup cherry juice
- 3 Tbs lime juice
- In a saucepan over medium heat, add 3 cups of water and sugar. Warm until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside and cool to room temperature before adding the whey and juice. (Or place the sugar mixture into the fridge to speed up the cooling process.)
- In a half gallon glass container, such as clear glass jug or mason jar, add the remaining 3 1/2 cups of water, whey, cherry juice, lime juice and cooled sugar mixture. Seal the jar with a tight lid and allow to ferment for 2 to 6 days, depending on the temperature of the room.
- When the soda has finished fermenting, it should be very fizzy. Either place the liquid directly into the fridge to chill or transfer the liquid to airtight bottles such as these Grolsch flip-top bottles. Serve chilled or over ice. Consume within one to two weeks.