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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Fermented Agua de Jamaica

This summer has been all about the fizz.  Anything sparkly, spicy, or fermented has been floating my bubble.
After successfully creating my ginger bug (which is still active and stubborn and just won't go to sleep), I've been regularly making ginger ale along with other fermented sodas.  I only have 3 glass flip top bottles, so it's not a major production, but it's nice since the quantities are 75cL to 1L at a time, there is a constant rotation of things happening in and around my kitchen.
Only once has the test been horribly awful.  Watermelon soda was really bad.  Really really bad.  Maybe I don't put enough sugar in, but it tasted like rotten tomato juice.  
I'm shuddering just thinking about it.
The sugar thing is psychological.  I know it will be eaten by the lactobacillus and won't actually make the drink sugary.. but it's a real struggle to do it.
Lemonade works really well, though.  Lets focus on the delicious.
Agua Fresca de Jamaica also turns out to be fabulous!  I've often thought that refreshing spiced hibiscus iced tea would be excellent as a bubbly drink...and so it was!
yield 75 cL (25 floz)
1/4 cup ginger bug
1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tbsp dried hibiscus flower
1/2 inch piece cinnamon stick
3 - 4 cups water
1/4 cup sugar (or more if you like it sweet)
1.  Place 3 cups of water with the sugar, hibiscus, and cinnamon in a pot.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2-3 minutes until sugar dissolves.
2.    Let cool to lukewarm.  This is important.  You don't want to kill your ferment.  Then remove the solids (hibiscus and cinnamon)
3.  Using a funnel over your flip top bottle,  pour in the ginger bug and lime juice followed by the steeped jamaica.  Top off with extra water if needed.  Make sure not to overfill.
4.  Do not close the bottle yet.  Cover to make sure nobody falls in.  I used a piece of coffee filter and a rubber band.  Let sit at room temperature for 2 days.
5.  Now you can close the flip top bottle.  Let sit for 1-2 days, but not more than that.  My room temperature is around 25°C 77°F right now.  If it's colder where you are, you may let it sit longer, but at your own risk.
6.  Refrigerate until ready to drink.
As always, open with caution.  Do this outside or as shown in the sink.  That is not my hand, by the way.
Hold the flip top cap down and let the air out slooowwwly to avoid the geyser effect.  This method functions well.

Enjoy very cold while discussing fermentation techniques with people who had no idea this could be done!

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