It's easy to boost your gut health when ferments taste this good! Here are 50+ probiotic and lacto-fermented drinks beyond Kombucha and kefir, including ginger soda, pineapple kanji, mead, and more.
I have one last trick up my sleeve…
If you won't eat your probiotics, surely you'll DRINK them!
In case you can't tell, I have made it my mission in life to help you find fermented foods you and your family actually want to eat.
And this is the biggest fermented round-up yet.
On a personal note, it was also the most fun for me. I mean, who knew there were so many variations of kvass?!
One thing you'll notice is that I haven't included Kombucha or dairy kefir (except in smoothies) or water kefir. Although those beverages are super yummy and super good for you, they're also very common.
And… the greater the variety of fermented foods you include in your diet, the more strains of beneficial bacteria and yeast (a.k.a. probiotics) your gut receives.
Different Bacteria & Yeast Strains In Fermented Drinks
Why do people drink Kombucha? What is the difference between kefir and Kombucha?
Kombucha contains a few strains of bacteria (Acetobacter and Gluconacetobacter are the most common) and a few strains of yeast too, like Saccharomyces boulardii and Zygosaccharomyces kombuchaensis — a strain unique to Kombucha (source).
Milk kefir contains many more strains of bacteria (Lactobacillus, Leuconostoc, and Acetobacter to name a few) and yeast (Candida, Kluyveromyces, and Saccharomyces; source).
Bacterial strains such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and bulgaricus and Bifidobacterium bifidus occur in whey, so any ferment made with whey as a starter will contain them.
While still helpful for gut health, the bacteria and yeast strains will be vastly different when using a veggie starter culture (lactobacillus plantarum and Ped. acidilactici; source).
Furthermore, “wild ferments” gather any good bacteria and yeasts naturally in the air or on the skin of whatever fruit or veggie you're fermenting without an additional starter culture. Who knows what beneficial strains are present then!
So if you're only drinking Kombucha or kefir as your sources of fermented beverages, you're denying your body the thousands of other helpful, healing strains that occur in kvass or cultured cider, for example.
It all boils down to this: your body benefits from ALL of them!
More variety of fermented foods = more variety of probiotics = happier tummy and health benefits overall. 🙂
How To Eat A Variety Of Fermented Foods
Am I saying you have to make all the fermented foods out there in order to achieve glowing health? No.
I am saying that you should try to incorporate as much variety with your ferments as you do with the other foods you eat.
Eating the same thing over and over gets boring and deprives your body of the joy and health that comes from eating many foods in all colors of the rainbow. The same is true with ferments.
The beautiful thing about fermenting is that it really ebbs and flows with the changing of the seasons.
If it's raw milk and wild fermentation you love, try Bonny Clabber Panna Cotta year round.
Just don't be afraid to experiment until you find several you love! And in my opinion, fermented drinks are a delicious place to start!
Are all fermented drinks alcoholic?
Most lightly fermented drinks — like water kefir, natural soda, or Jun — contain very little alcohol, anywhere from 0.5% to 2% alcohol.
Drinks like mead and wine are brewed specifically for their alcohol content (as well as their flavor). The alcohol content in these fermented drinks ranges from about 3.5% to over 20%.
Image courtesy of Nourished Kitchen.
To make fermented soda, we use whey or a ginger bug as the starter. Combined with fruit juice or herbal tea, the ferment is easy and produces a traditionally fermented beverage.
Enjoy the following collection of fruit or herb-based sodas.
Non-Alcoholic “Beers” (Ginger Beer & Root Beer)
Old-Fashioned Root Beer — A simple fermented root beer teeming with gut-healing action and old-fashioned root beer flavor!
Homemade Ginger Beer — Learn how to make a ginger bug first… and then on to this spicy, probiotic treat.
Honey-Sweetened Ginger Beer — Perfect for those on the GAPS Diet, this bubbly fermented soda is sweetened with honey instead of sugar!
Homemade Root Beer — There's an undeniable charm to mixing roots, twigs, herbs, and berries together for homemade root beer.
More Fruit & Herb Sodas!
Peaches & Cream Soda — The summer flavor of peaches combined with whey makes this refreshing beverage.
Sweet Potato Fly — Want your kids begging for more probiotic drinks? Then make this slightly effervescent and aromatic sweet potato fly!
Fizzy Dandelion Soda — Send the kids out with a big bowl, and let them gather all the dandelion blooms they can find. Then make this fizzy soda! Weed control and gut health… who could ask for more?
Elderflower Soda — Just as being in nature and gathering elderflowers is healing for the spirit, using those elderflowers in a fermented soda is healing for the body. Double win!
Naturally Fermented Pineapple and Ginger Soda — With just three ingredients, you can enjoy soda again!
Fermented Rose Hip Soda — This low-maintenance fermented soda uses whole rose hips, high in Vitamin C and fantastic for the immune system.
Fermented Elderberry and Honey Soda — Keep this family-friendly soda on hand during cold and flu season since both elderberries and honey are powerful anti-virals!
Watermelon Soda — The amazing flavor of watermelon is magnified when fermented into soda.
Fermented Blackberry Soda — Have any foraged berries in your freezer that aren't very sweet? Use them to flavor a fermented soda!
Grape Drink — This is a step-by-step photo tutorial of Nourishing Traditions' Grape Drink!
Apple-Pomegranate Soda — Fizzy, sweet, refreshing, and all natural… this is what soda is supposed to be!
Fermented Grapefruit Juice — Perfectly tart and fresh, fermented grapefruit juice is amazing on its own.
Orangeina — Try this healthy orange soda that's full of flavor and probiotics!
Probiotic Lemonade — Who doesn't like lemonade?! Here's a recipe that's easy on the wallet and the tummy.
Probiotic Ciders & Other Juices
Ciders are usually made with just one ingredient — apples!
A kind of wild ferment, apple cider is charged by the microscopic yeasts and bacteria already found on apple skin! These beneficial organisms feed off the naturally occurring sugars found in the apples' juice.
Spontaneously Fermented Sparkling Apple Cider — Fall's easiest ferment is so easy it can hardly be called a recipe. After all, it's just 1 ingredient: freshly pressed apple cider!
Simple Apple Peel Cider — Feeling a teeny bit guilty about all those apple peels in your compost? No more! Just turn them into cider!
Spontaneous Hard Apple Cider — This recipe literally calls for one ingredient: unpasteurized apple cider. Nature does the rest and makes it good for your belly!
Naturally Fermented Kvass
Image courtesy of Eat Beautiful.
Kvass, originally created in Ukraine over 1,000 years ago, is made from stale bread or beets plus many other additional (and historical) flavorings.
Usually inoculated with either sauerkraut juice or whey (or made with wild fermentation techniques), it is rich in potassium and antioxidants, very easy to make, and simply delicious.
Beet Kvass — According to Nourishing Traditions, beet kvass is “an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids in digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver, and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments”. Wow!
Whey-Free Beet Kvass — Enjoy beet kvass without whey, if you find that flavor unpleasant or are dairy-free.
Sweet Raspberry Beet Kvass with Lovely Variations — Variations include hibiscus, lavender and ginger. Delicious and so refreshing!
Black Raspberry Kvass — Fruit-based kvasses are a wonderful way to get kids to enjoy this healing drink. Black raspberry sounds like a pretty darn good flavor for grown-ups too!
Strawberry-Beet Kvass — Full of beneficial electrolytes and sodium, this kvass is great for kids, more like a super healthy probiotic smoothie!
Lacto-Fermented Fruit Kvass — If you've been dreaming of putting probiotic goodness into your body, this basic recipe is a good place to start.
Beet Kvass That Actually Tastes Good — This savory beet kvass is made with cabbage and onions!
Orange-Ginger-Carrot Kvass — Full of immune boosting properties, this kvass is orange-colored: no beets in sight!
Mead & Wine
Image courtesy of Hobby Farms.
Mead, an ancient fermented honey-drink, traces its origins back to Europe, Africa, and Asia. It is alcoholic and may be made from simply water and honey, or often fruits, spices, grains, and hops are included.
Wine, an alcoholic fermented beverage, typically uses grapes. Yeast consumes the sugars in grapes to produce alcohol.
Different strains of yeasts and different fruits produce a variety of wines. Enjoy these mead and wine recipes!
Easy Natural Mead — Basically “honey wine”, mead aids digestion and pairs well with everything from roasted meat to pecan pie.
Blueberry Orange Mead — Made with honey and yeast, this recipe yields a gallon of mead.
Elderberry Wine — With a sun-extracted version, the author of this recipe says Elderberry Wine is, “… rich, sweet and fruity… To me it smells like abundance. If I have enough fruit to ferment, then it’s been a bountiful year.”
Easy Blackberry Wine — Use wild blackberries, honey, lemon juice and a small amount of black tea to make this special summer beverage.
Kefir & Yogurt Smoothies, Plus Lassis
Image courtesy of Yummy Mummy Kitchen.
The naturally occurring sugar (lactose) found in milk is great food for beneficial bacteria. Kefir and yogurt contain different strains of probiotics which proliferate when able to consume lactose.
The following recipes use probiotic yogurt or kefir in smoothies — for healthy treats.
Tropical Probiotic Smoothie — A nutrient-dense smoothie that combines health and yumminess with the addition of water kefir or Kombucha.
PowerHouse Kefir Smoothie — You'll love how many powerhouse ingredients are in this smoothie.
Honey Spice Lassi — This would be a wonderful drink to serve on a holiday morning to get the festivities started the right way! It's also a great breakfast for kids and adults before busy family activities begin each day!
Apple Pie Smoothie — This recipe uses a mildly flavored Piima yogurt for those of you who don't enjoy a too-tart-and-tangy fermented flavor.
Orange Protein Smoothie — Do you like orange creamsicles? Then you'll LOVE its healthier cousin!
Super Easy Strawberry Kefir Smoothie — Now here's a great way to start the day!
Frozen Summer Fruit Kefir Smoothie — Maybe your family doesn't care for kefir yet. Give this smoothie a try, and see if it doesn't make them converts!
Turmeric Lassi — Lemon, ginger, turmeric, raw honey, AND kefir?! I'm not sure I can come up with a more healing drink than that!
Mint Lassi — Crisp and refreshing mint comes together with kefir to create a truly digestible treat!
Chocolate Kefir Smoothie — A tasty chocolate dessert that's packed with all the benefits of kefir!
Image courtesy of Eat Beautiful.
Apple cider vinegar contains probiotics and inoculates this simple ferment. Incredibly hydrating and refreshing, you can make and consume switchels the same day — no waiting. 🙂
Mixed Berry Switchel — If you love the flavors of ginger, apple cider vinegar and mixed berries, this recipe will be perfect for you!
Strawberry-Basil Switchel — No ferment is faster or easier to make than switchel, and no flavor could be more delicious or more fun than strawberry-basil!
Lavender Blueberry Switchel — Here's another fun summer flavor!
Miscellaneous Fermented Drinks
Image courtesy of Mexico In My Kitchen.
Below you'll find a variety of traditional ferments.
These beverages share the ease of wild fermentation and the savory side of ferments (using cabbage). Plus, the magic many different countries and cultures have contributed to our cumulation of recipes!
Fermented Turmeric Tonic — Did you know turmeric has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties? Now your body will be better able to utilize it!
Tepache — Quench your thirst with this refreshing and fermented Mexican “aqua fresca”.
Carrot Kanji — Kanji is a traditional winter drink — even though it isn't served warm, its ingredients are warming to your body.
Pineapple Kanji — Here's a recipe to use something that always goes in my compost: pineapple peels!
Rejuvelac — Inexpensive, easy to make, and refreshing, rejuvelac is an ancient wheat drink that's good for the soul.
Cabbage Rejuvelac — This healthful daily tonic is made grain-free with just cabbage and water.
Cherry Balsamic Shrub — A shrub is an 18th century method of preserving fresh fruit with sugar and vinegar. This beautiful drink may make you want to try this old-fashioned preservation method!
Bonny Clabber — If you enjoy wild fermentation, this raw milk treat requires no work at all!
Probiotic Water Kefir Tea — Maybe your family doesn't care for all this fizziness. This water kefir tea solves your problem!
Jun (Traditional Fermented Green Tea and Honey) — We hear a lot about kombucha, but have you ever heard of Jun? It's like Kombucha's big sister… but made with honey and green tea, instead of sugar and black tea. You'll love it!
Fermented Coconut Water — Fermenting coconut water reduces its sugar content, making it an even more beneficial beverage than plain coconut water!
Aren't you excited to try some of these fermented drinks?! Which one will you make first?
This post was featured in 82 Ways To Heal Your Gut.
This post was originally published and written by Lindsey Dietz on 10/12/15. It was updated and republished on 3/9/20.
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