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Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!

December 17, 2016

Kids and adults alike can celebrate the holiday season with this bubbly, naturally probiotic rich fermented cranberry soda!

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!

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I remember the year like it was yesterday…

My oldest was 2 1/2 and we were enjoying a delicious New Year’s dinner platter of raw cheeses, crackers, fruit, olives – the works! My husband and I had glasses of wine to ring in the new year and my toddler was all of a sudden not as excited about her glass of milk!

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!Listen…kids love to celebrate just as much as we do!

Creating amazing memories for them while they are little so that the smells, the people, the traditions, and the food have a warm, nostalgic feeling every time the holidays come around builds family pride and appreciation.

After that year we started making sure that the girls had something special to drink with us as we rang in the new year as a family! (They also love having these fun swing top bottles to make them feel like they have their own special drink!)

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!

Naturally fermented, bubbly cranberry soda became our New Year celebration tradition!

While some years I chose the easier route and served store bought Kombucha as I sleepily nursed newborns, or tended to crabby witching hour toddlers, we are now in a really cool season of kids that actually sleep through the night (most of the time!), and a couple of older kids that really love to help in the kitchen and truly appreciate real food.

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!Use real food to make real, bubbly soda!

All you need to make a traditionally fermented soda is a fermenting medium such as whey, a ginger bug, or brewed water kefir or kombucha, a little sugar for them to feed on to grow, and a really fun seasonal fruit to flavor it! You can choose whatever fermenting medium you wish, and the cranberries give this soda the most vibrant, beautiful red color you have ever seen! It is also helpful to have these grolsch/swing top type bottles to make your fermenting happen easily!

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!

A note on the sugar

The sugar in the recipe is for the probiotic bugs, not for you! While there is some sugar left behind, the amount is completely up to you! The longer you let the drink ferment, the less sugar there will be, as the bugs in the fermenting medium (the whey, ginger bug, or brewed water kefir or kombucha) eat up the sugar.

The beauty is in being able to taste it along the way. I check the bottles every couple days and decide when it’s done. It’s pretty cold up here so fermenting happens slow in the winter – if you are in a warmer climate I would recommend checking for taste daily.

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!Fermented drink newbies, this part is for you!

If you are new to fermenting drinks, don’t be intimidated! It is so easy!

If you are just starting out and don’t have a fermenting medium such as a ginger bug, water kefir grains, or a SCOBY for kombucha, simply strain off some whey from a container of quality yogurt and you’ll be good to go! Put a thin towel over a bowl, scoop a 32oz container of plain, whole milk yogurt into the towel, and then tie the towel up to a cupboard door handle. The whey will drip out into the bowl – you’ll need about 1 cup to make this drink recipe and that should take about an hour-ish to drip if you squeeze it a little. The leftover yogurt in the towel is essentially “Greek yogurt”, or, if you strain it completely, it is like cream cheese!

(If you are interested in getting into more fermenting, here is my full tutorial about getting into water kefir brewing, and I love these tutorials from The Nourished Kitchen on making and using a ginger bug, as well as how to brew kombucha.)

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!Happy New Year from my family to yours!

Have the kids help you bottle up something special to ring in the new year! The hands on time is pretty minimal – once it’s bottled it just needs some time to sit and work it’s bubble magic!

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!

Print Recipe
5 from 17 votes

Fermented Cranberry Soda

Kids and adults alike can celebrate the holiday season with this bubbly, naturally probiotic rich fermented cranberry soda!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Ferment7 hrs
Total Time15 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberry soda recipe, fermented cranberry soda, fermented cranberry soda recipe
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com


  • 8 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups organic pure cane sugar
  • 1 cup whey OR 1 cup ginger bug, OR 1-2 quarts brewed water kefir or kombucha


  • Put the cranberries, water, and sugar into a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer until the cranberries soften and burst. You can use the back of your wooden spoon or a potato masher to squish them up.
  • Pour the cranberry sugar mixture through a strainer over a gallon jar to strain the cranberry pulp from the sugary cranberry syrup using a fine mesh strainer. Use the back of your wooden spoon to push the liquid through the strainer, spreading the pulp around. The leftover pulp can be blended into a smoothie or stirred into yogurt or soaked oats.
  • Let the cranberry syrup cool to lukewarm/room temp and then stir in your fermenting medium (The whey, ginger bug, or brewed water kefir or kombucha). If using the whey or ginger bug, you'll have to add water to top off the gallon jar leaving a couple inches of head space
  • At this point, you can either put a tight lid on your jar to ferment, or transfer to swing top/grolsch style bottles to ferment. Leave the soda at room temp for a few days to a week, checking for taste daily. The rate of fermenting greatly depends on the environment in which you live. This time of year where I live the fermenting takes 7-10 days since it is so cold here (we do have heat but it is still quite cool - this week we were in the single digits for wind chills!). I leave the flip top bottles up in a high cupboard where the heat rises in the kitchen near my stove. I do find that my ferments finish up faster using the flip top bottles versus a jar with lid. A Pickle Pipe on your jars work just as good as flip top bottles in my experience too. (I love my Pickle Pipes!)
  • Once your cranberry soda is the taste and amount of natural carbonation you like, transfer your jar or bottles to the fridge to slow down the fermenting. They will keep in the fridge 3-4 weeks.

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  • Reply Emily @ Recipes to Nourish December 18, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    LOVE this recipe!!! And it’s SO gorgeous! Such a beautiful, festive color!

  • Reply Alex from Happy Body Formula December 19, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Really festive! I’d love to make a batch of this for holiday parties for those who are avoiding spirits for the season which I know quite a few of! It’s so nice to have a healthier and tasty option.

  • Reply Halle From Whole Lifestyle Nutrition December 19, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    5 stars
    OMG, the red!!! So in love with this recipe! I can not wait for my kids to try this one, they LOVE cranberries! Thanks for the AMAZING recipe! 🙂

  • Reply Jessica DeMay December 19, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    What a fun festive drink! My husband and I don’t drink alcohol so this would be the perfect special drink for us 🙂

  • Reply Jo Hughes December 20, 2016 at 5:05 am

    Renee- When you say whey, would whey from milk kefir work?

    • Reply Renee Kohley December 20, 2016 at 11:27 am

      I think that would work Jo 🙂

      • Reply Jo Hughes December 21, 2016 at 2:14 am

        Thank you! 🙂

  • Reply Irena Macri December 20, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Definitely going to have to make some of this to get me through the holidays this year! It’s beautiful.

  • Reply ChihYu December 20, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    5 stars
    This is so perfect for the holiday season. I’m going to make this for my house guests !

  • Reply Cristina Curp December 20, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    5 stars
    Love love love the color…. bonus for delish and gut healthy!

  • Reply Katja December 20, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    This looks so delicious. And perfect for the holidays! Lovely photos!

  • Reply Rachel December 20, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    Gorgeousssss color in this soda!

  • Reply Real Food with Dana December 21, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Woah, gorgeous!! Love the idea of getting in some probiotics to celebrate the New Year!

  • Reply Kari Peters December 21, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    5 stars
    This soda is so beautiful, that deep cranberry color is mesmerizing!

  • Reply Michele Spring December 21, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    I’ve gotten out of fermenting stuff lately but I think this is going to make me get back into it! My kids would go nuts over this and after this trip we are on in Mexico with the kids drinking tons of sugary pina coladas, they need to get back on the healthier drink train! This will be just the thing.

  • Reply Taesha December 21, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    I’m so excited to see this recipe up! What a fun and festive drink that is so god for the gut too! Love it!

  • Reply Kelly Bejelly December 22, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    I’m SO ready to celebrate 2017 and this drink makes me want to party already! I have to say I think it is so wonderful to see you and your husband want to include your kids in the festivities. What a fun way to make them (or anyone) feel special. Happy New Year!

  • Reply STACEY CRAWFORD December 22, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    5 stars
    This sound so good! I love cranberries! Lovely photos too!

  • Reply Green Moms Network Week in Review December 23, 2016 at 6:58 am

    […] about some fermented cranberry soda to help ring in the new year? Raising Generation Nourished has got the […]

  • Reply Becky Winkler December 23, 2016 at 9:13 am

    This is so pretty! I’ve never tried fermenting but your tips have me feeling inspired. Love those bottles, too!

  • Reply Carrie Forrest December 26, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    Can I just say that this is amazing?! The color of this is absolutely incredible and I imagine the taste must be simply tantalizing. Also, I love that it is wonderful that it is equally wonderful for adults and children alike.

  • Reply Alexa Bishop January 2, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    5 stars
    Will the pickle pipes let all of the fizz out or just enough to keep it from exploding? I am a little nervous about having an explosion.

    • Reply Renee Kohley January 2, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      Hi Alexa! Yes Pickle Pipes are fine for the fermenting if you feel more comfortable with those!

  • Reply Lauren May 11, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Has anyone actually MADE this soda? Comment on the photos is great, and they are tempting, but how does it taste?

    • Reply cindy December 18, 2017 at 9:37 am

      I am on my 3rd batch of this soda … it is excellent!

      • Reply Renee Kohley December 26, 2017 at 5:30 pm

        Love that! Thank you for your feedback Cindy!

  • Reply Frances June 5, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    Hi Renee, I make a lot of Kefir Milk and then Kefir Milk Cream Cheese. This gives me lots of Whey. With this recipe could I use Whey instead of filtered water as I have 12 Liters of Whey from making my cream cheese? Interesting enough I put fresh guavas through my food processor, then through a steel strainer to remove all the pips. The pulp was so thick that I thinned it out with Kefir Whey kept it in the fridge to make smoothies. Granted I did not add sugar to it. I need to use up all this Kefir Whey.
    Regards Frances from Sunny South Africa

    • Reply Renee Kohley June 5, 2017 at 8:08 pm

      Hi Frances! I think you could swap some of the water for whey, but it might be too much and ferment a lot if you set it out to culture with all whey. I believe you can freeze whey – you could freeze it for using later too maybe?

  • Reply Billy June 5, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    5 stars
    This soda looks so great! I can’t wait to try making this at home. I’m curious to see if I can manage to make it look as good as the pictures. Hopefully it keeps some of that great cranberry flavor I love. This sounds like a great way to get the probiotics your body needs to help with digestion! Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply Renee Kohley June 5, 2017 at 8:07 pm

      It has such a great cranberry flavor! Enjoy it!

  • Reply Esther Medina June 15, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    This looks so yummy! I just got a Fermentation Creation wide mouth airlock. Can I divide the ingredients proportionally to fit into a smaller Ball size. I don’t want to use the half gallon size because I don’t have that many cranberries.
    Thank you,

    • Reply Renee Kohley June 16, 2017 at 9:10 am

      Hi Esther! Yes that should work great! Enjoy it!

  • Reply The 53 Best Weston A. Price Inspired Traditional Food Bloggers for 2017 | Perfect Supplements August 22, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    […] fermented veggies and beverage recipes the kids will enjoy such as, Fermented Carrots for Kids and Fermented Cranberry Soda.Passionate about the health of our children and our future @reneekohley wins BITAN 2017 award… […]

  • Reply Taesha Edwards September 23, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    I use dried cranberries and less sugar. We’ll see how it turns out!

  • Reply Nutrient Dense Holiday Recipes November 8, 2017 at 6:12 pm

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  • Reply Jisha November 26, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    How abt putting a bit of yeast for fermentation??

  • Reply Tina December 4, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    Interesting… I’ve never had fermented soda before but this sounds good!

  • Reply Jean December 4, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    5 stars
    I love anything fermented and this looks sooo healthy and delicious. And the color is gorgeous!

  • Reply Megan Stevens December 5, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    5 stars
    This glorious color!!! I bet cranberries are so perfectly suited to this recipe. Perfect. recipe. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Reply Carrie @ Clean Eating Kitchen December 6, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    5 stars
    This is just a gorgeous recipe and I feel so inspired to make something bubbly for the holidays. And, yay for fermentation!!!

  • Reply Irena Macri December 8, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Soda is one of those things I hardly think about, but when I get the craving for it, nothing else will do. This is such a great alternative. Ferment anything and I’m pleased with it! This is a must-make xx

  • Reply cristina December 10, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    5 stars
    This looks so lovely, I love fermented recipes, it’s like magic!

  • Reply ChihYu December 11, 2017 at 9:42 am

    5 stars
    You are the queen of fermentation and thank you for sharing this wonderful flavor. My husband would love it !

  • Reply STACEY CRAWFORD December 11, 2017 at 11:26 am

    5 stars
    Such a gorgeous drink!! I love love the photos 🙂

  • Reply Katja December 11, 2017 at 11:37 am

    5 stars
    PERFECT for the holidays. YUM!! And so pretty.

  • Reply Holley @ ThePrimalDesire.com December 11, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    5 stars
    I always have sparkling juice for the littles in my life, but this is even better!

  • Reply Melissa @Realnutritiousliving December 11, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    So pretty and healthy for the season! I am definitely giving this one a try!

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  • Reply Emily May 28, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    Is this alcoholic? I made it and it tastes great but has a wine flavor and I’m kind of nervous about the kids drinking it??

    • Reply Renee Kohley June 23, 2018 at 8:41 pm

      Hi Emily! The longer the bottles sit to ferment, the more it will taste that way – it won’t have much more than a .05% alcohol content. I serve 4 oz servings to my kiddos.

  • Reply Susie McCune October 4, 2018 at 8:52 am

    When you say to use kombucha, do you mean the finished kombucha or a scoby? Or would either work? I really want to try this! It is beautiful!

    • Reply Renee Kohley October 5, 2018 at 10:11 am

      Hi Susie! Do the cranberries as a second ferment with your finished kombucha!

  • Reply Tessa Simpson November 26, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    5 stars
    MMMMM!!! The color! The tart flavor..this is a winner!!

  • Reply Laura December 1, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    What a great way to get more probiotics. I need to make more fermented foods, and this sounds like a good one to try!

  • Reply Nicole December 2, 2018 at 10:43 am

    Can I use store bought kombucha? So excited to try this!

    • Reply Renee Kohley December 8, 2018 at 10:37 am

      Hi Nicole! I’ve never tried that before – let us know if you do!

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  • Reply Mary March 9, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    Can I use dried cranberries? Will it still work? I am having trouble finding fresh. It looks heavenly!!

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  • Reply Jennifer November 11, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    We have this brewing right now. Can’t wait until it is finished.

  • Reply debi November 24, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    5 stars
    So, if I am understanding this, if I add a ginger bug, I also add more water to the gallon jar? Is it to be diluted? Thanks!! (Can’t wait to try this!! All ready to go)

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  • Reply Michelle November 25, 2022 at 3:47 pm

    What is your opinion about using ginger bug and then brewed water kefir as the added water? So excited to try this!

    • Reply Renee Kohley January 3, 2023 at 1:03 pm

      Hi Michelle! Ginger bug liquid or water kefir will both work great in this recipe!

  • Reply Anjea November 29, 2022 at 2:06 pm

    So I’m making this now and it smells/tastes like alcohol, and not the good kind😉. Any pointers?

    • Reply Renee Kohley January 3, 2023 at 1:02 pm

      Hi Anjea! There will be a “fermented” or “alcohol” like aroma to any naturally fermented food. If it is growing green fuzzy stuff on the top, or it smells sour and “off” then you can toss it but that is very rare to happen.

  • Reply karen January 28, 2023 at 8:18 am

    Can this work being made with less sugar. I like very tart cranberry drinks. I’d like to as little sugar as possible, even none if this will still ferment

    • Reply Renee Kohley January 29, 2023 at 11:59 am

      Hi Karen! The sugar is for the fermentation bugs to feed on – it will not work without this amount of sugar. The probiotic bugs actually eat the sugar, so by the time it ferments the sugar content is actually quite low, and this drink does have a great tart bite to it!

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