Months ago, I posted about my soda recipe to break my husband's soda addiction. Since then, we have bought water kefir grains. Water kefir grains are small masses of bacteria and yeast that ferment sugars. Although we call our kefir Therese, she is actually a community of many organisms.
When we first got Therese we had to rehydrate her in sugar water for a few days, then she was ready to get to work. Every day or two, Dan pours out the fizzy fermented sugar water. He then fills her jar back up with water and feeds her a few more tablespoons of sugar.
The sugar water she has fermented he then turns into a soda-like beverage. For something like sprite, he adds some lemon juice and lime juice. For cream soda, he just adds vanilla. For a cola-like beverage, he adds vanilla, cinnamon and lime juice.
You can also make fruit sodas by allowing the kefir to ferment juice instead of sugar water. There's a free eBook with kefir recipes from Cultures for Health. It has mostly milk kefir recipes, but it has some water kefir recipes toward the end that use fruit juice.
When I found the free eBook, I excitedly told my husband about all the kefir recipes: lemonade kefir and cherry kefir and grape kefir. He asked, "Did they have Mountain Dew kefir, or Dr. Pepper kefir?" No, they didn't, but if anyone has any suggestions on how I can make our kefir taste something like Mountain Dew, that would make my husband very happy, and in turn make me happy, too.
Kefir is not only a nourishing soda alternative, it is a money saver. We paid about $20 for our kefir grains from Amazon, but as long as we keep feeding them, the community will not die. The sugar we feed them costs less than the tonic water we used to use for Dan's soda. Pets generally are not frugal, but there are useful pets, like our kefir, Therese, who save us money.