Fermented drinks that you can easily make at home

Five fermented drinks from around the world that can be prepared at home

18 Mar 2021

As the mercury rises, sipping on a chilled drink is one way to beat the heat. Why not opt for something different this year and try your hand at homemade fermented drinks? These are easy to prepare, taste delicious and can be customised to your taste, if required. Homemade fermented drinks are also expected to be one of the leading beverage trends this year, according to the Godrej Food Trends Report 2021.

In 2020, many people began creating their own beverage solutions since all social events moved online. This sparked an interest in concepts like home brewing and fermenting, which is expected to continue. As celebrity chef Vicky Ratnani explains, “Simple ferments like tepache, kvass and kanji will continue to grow in popularity in 2021 because they are good for us and the environment. They are rich in probiotics, easy to ferment as there is no need for SCOBYs and starters, and they allow us to use the whole fruit, including the skins. Sustainable, friendly and tasty!”

Here are five fermented drinks from across the world, which you can try making at home.

Lacto-fermented lemonade

If you like lemonade, but find the citrusy flavour too harsh by itself, then try lacto-fermented lemonade. It has a unique creamy taste, which some fans describe as similar to lemon meringue pie. The ingredient that gives the fermented lemonade this flavour is whey — the watery liquid found on top of yoghurt or formed when milk is curdled to make cheese. Mix the whey, freshly squeezed lemon juice, sugar and water in a glass jar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Loosely cover the jar and leave it at room temperature for around two days. What you end up with is a tangy, mildly sweet and fizzy drink.

Watermelon kanji

Kanji is a favourite in north Indian households and is commonly made during the winters. Traditionally, it is made with red or purple carrots and beetroots. However, there’s a delicious variant made using watermelon rind, which is popular in Mathur households. Watermelon rind, water, mustard powder, salt and red chilli powder are mixed together and left to ferment in the sunlight for around four-five days. The mixture is usually stored in a glass or ceramic jar, which has to be shaken or stirred every day. Once ready, the drink acquires a tangy, spicy flavour.

Sweet potato fly

This Guyanese beverage is made using grated sweet potatoes, brown sugar or jaggery, and water as the base ingredients. This mixture is stored in a glass jar and left to ferment for around two days. Stir the mixture once every day. Once it becomes bubbly, strain the drink and refrigerate. You can also add spices such as cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg for added flavour. Another option is to culture the sweet potato fly with whey.


This Mexican beverage needs just a few ingredients — ripe pineapple, cane sugar or sugar and spices (optional). Tepache tastes sweet, tart and spicy, with a distinct pineapple flavour. To make it, dissolve the sugar or cane sugar in warm water. Once it cools down to room temperature, add pineapple peel, the core of the fruit and spices such as cinnamon sticks, cloves or pieces of ginger. You can also add some pineapple juice/pulp if you like. Mix well and pour into a clean glass jar. Loosely cover the jar and keep it at room temperature. After around 24 hours, check the tepache. If there is white froth-like foam on the surface, it means the tepache has begun to ferment. Once it reaches the necessary level of fermentation after around two days, strain the drink and discard the solids. Add sugar or water as required. You can refrigerate the tepache for up to a week.

Beetroot kvass

Kvass is an eastern European beverage that was traditionally prepared by fermenting stale bread. However, today, it is more commonly made using beetroots. Mix chopped beetroot, whey or sauerkraut juice, salt and water in a glass jar. Cover the jar with a cloth and leave the mixture to ferment for around two days. Once it is ready, strain the mixture if you like and refrigerate the kvass. This fermented drink has an earthy, mildly sweet and sour, and salty taste.

Have you tried making any fermented drinks at home? Let us know in the comments below.


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