I've been playing around with fermented sodas more recently as it's starting to get warmer and after being super inspired after a friend was bringing me her fermented sodas while I had a nasty week long case of strep throat. Here's my recipe for my Elderberry Syrup & Soda.
1 cup dried elderberries
4 cups water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or 1 Tablespoon cinnamon bark
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon star anise
1 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 Tablespoon ginger root
1/4 cup wild cherry bark (also, burdock root can make a interesting spin on this drink.)
1 Tablespoon dried orange peel
Put all these ingredients into a sauce pan and bring to a boil on medium high heat. Once the mixture boils, turn the heat down and let the mixture simmer for 30-40 minutes. Using a strainer, pour the mixture into a large glass or Pyrex bowl (compost the herbs and berries). I like to press down with a wooden spoon to make sure I get all the juice and flavor I can! Let the mixture cool a bit and add 2 cups raw, organic honey to the mixture while it is warm, but not hot. This helps the honey to incorporate into the juice without the need to heat.
This makes about 5 cups of a rather thick syrup (thick enough to use on pancakes or waffles).
For the Soda
In a half-gallon pitcher or jar, add 2 cups of Elderberry Syrup and fill almost to the top with cold, filtered water. To this, add 1/2 cup of the Ginger Bug. Stir to combine with a wooden spoon. Cover with cheesecloth and a rubber band and allow to sit at room temperature for 3-5 days while it ferments. Depending on the weather, season, ambient temperature, and other variables, it may ferment quickly or take a little longer. Taste it after 2 days and see how it tastes to you and then decide if you’d like to let it go a little longer.
You can bottle your soda at this point, if you’d like. Use bottles with a screw top or bottle as you would homemade beer. I prefer to make small batches and drink it rather quickly as they do continue to ferment, even if stored in sealed bottles in the fridge.