A group of people enjoying glasses of fermented drink.

How to Make Fermented Drinks at Home

Fermented Drinks to Quench Your Thirst

Did you know … coffee, chocolate, wine, beer, cider, mead, sake, liquor, alcoholic beverages, kombucha, vinegar, yoghurt and kefir are all fermented drinks?

There are 3 kinds of fermentation we use to make fermented drinks, and each has has its own specific process and characteristic.

  1. Lactic Fermentation

    • no oxygen (anaerobic)
    • needs to be air-tight
    • naturally occurs in sugars and starch in fruit and vegetables
    • when starved of oxygen, the natural bacteria present feeds on the sugars and produces lactic acid
    • examples using this method are kvass and yoghurt
  2. Acetic Fermentation

    • needs oxygen (aerobic)
    • needs a loose covering (not air-tight)
    • when ethanol is exposed to air (oxygen) it evaporates and becomes acetic acid
    • examples using this method are kombucha, kefir, and vinegar
  3. Alcoholic Fermentation

    • needs yeast
    • no oxygen (anaerobic)
    • natural or added yeasts feed on sugar
    • when starved of oxygen, the heat enzymes break down  the sugars to become ethanol (alcohol)
    • examples using this method are cider, beer, and wine

Key Concepts

  • SCOBY – Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast (used for Kombucha and Jun)
  • Starter, Bug, Grains (used for Tibicos, Kefir, and Ginger Beer)
  • Good Bacteria (in the right environment the good bacteria will thrive)
  • The sugar or honey is to feed the bacteria (not you) and is essential
  • Second Fermentation (is optional but adds fruity flavour and frizz)

Kefir Grains

Getting Started

Useful equipment includes
  • Large Glass Jars or
  • Glass Drink Dispenser with Tap
  • Flip-Top Bottles
  • Fine Weave Cotton Fabric
  • Funnel
  • Sieve or Cheesecloth

Ginger Beer Bug


  • Use glass jars and bottles (not plastic)
  • Select bottles designed to withstand the pressure of second fermentation
  • Understand possible alcohol content
  • Start drinking small quantities
  • If it smells offensive or grows mold – throw it out

Simple Recipes

There are so many options for simple recipes you can easily make at home in your own kitchens.  I’ve included links to some of my favourites below.


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