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Fizzy Sourdough Fermented Blood Orange & Hibiscus Drink

by Saara

Fermented foods & drinks have been marching strong throughout the 2010s, don’t you think? I say yes please for the probiotics but buying a bottle of kombucha on the go can become an expensive habit.

Fermenting drinks at home is a fun playground. For the longest, I fermented homemade low-alcohol beverages with yeast until I finally switched to sourdough. Yes! You can ferment sparkling drinks with a sourdough starter.

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You might remember the SIMA recipe I shared here on the blog previously?

Well, the method is the same in order to achieve low-alcoholic everyday drink but flavoring ingredients are different this time. The recipe yields 2,5 liters of bubbly Blood Orange & Hibiscus drink.

To make this sourdough fermented drink, you’ll need:

  • a bubbly sourdough starter
  • 2 blood oranges
  • hibiscus tea* (Hibiscus sabdariffa)
  • brown sugar & caster sugar
  • 5l kettle
  • a big mason jar / a fido jar
  • swing top glass bottles*
  • sultanas or other type of dried fruit

All the delicious homemade fermented drinks

Fermented foods & drinks have been marching strong throughout the 2010s, don’t you think? I say yes please for the probiotics but buying a bottle of kombucha on the go can become an expensive habit.

There are so many traditional homemade fermented drinks around the world. We Finns have “sima” which we drink to celebrate the 1st of May. Vikings brew mead. There’s kefir, homemade beer, and ginger ale. And of course kvass from Eastern Europe.

I’m currently feeding two sourdough starters and for the time being, I have reasoned out having a third pet. It might be that at some point in the future I will get a SCOBY. However, 2020 is not the year for that and so I will continue to make refreshing drinks with sourdough fermentation. 🙂

Fizzy Blood Orange & Hibiscus Drink with sourdough fermentation | RECIPE

Any drink or food is as good as the ingredients. Choose organic, use quality ingredients. Combining both raw coconut sugar & caster sugar will not only build the flavors but give the drink a darker color. If you want lighter, more transparent blood orange drink, use only caster sugar or substitute with honey.


How much alcohol does this homemade drink have? Fermentation is a process where yeasts break down sugar in the absence of oxygen. Alcohol, as well as acids, are products of this.

Homemade sourdough fermented drink with a focused cold fermentation contains a small amount of alcohol (generally as a rule of thumb -1% if you do it right).

Keeping low alcohol consistency is ground to 3 factors in the process

You have to focus on…

  • the limited amount of fermentation in room temperature
  • the minuscule amount of fermentation agent used
  • lower sugar consistency

I do not recommend homemade fermented drinks to be given babies or very small children, pregnant women, or any person who may have a sensitivity to alcohol. In addition, Hibiscus herbal tea flowers are also used in flavoring here, which is why pregnant or breastfeeding women should not enjoy this drink. You can flavor sourdough fermented drinks in a multitude of ways, whatever is in season.


I always use glass bottles and do not recommend using plastic bottles. First-timers with no experience with fermenting, swing, or flip-top bottles can be a bit stressful. Screw caps can be more approachable. These 16 oz clear glass water bottles with a wide mouth* are quite nice.

Personally, I like use 0,5l bottles with a swing-top because then you get a bit of champagne bottle effect when you open it. More attitude! Having smaller 0,5l bottles is also handy. It’s a nice amount of fresh drink for two people without the need to store opened bottles in the fridge losing the sparkles. Without further ado, let’s have a look at the recipe.

Fermented blood orange drink

Fizzy Orange & Hibiscus Drink with sourdough fermentation

Fermented foods & drinks have been marching strong throughout the 2010s, don’t you think? I say yes please for the probiotics but buying a bottle of kombucha on the go can… Drinks fermented drinks, sourdough, homemade drinks, blood orange, hibiscus European Print This
Makes/Serves: 2,5 litres
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat


  • 2,1 liters water
  • 2 tsp hibiscus tea petals
  • 40g raw coconut sugar
  • 150 caster sugar
  • juice of 1 blood orange
  • the flesh of 1 blood orange
  • juice of a half a lemon
  • 1/8 tsp active sourdough starter



  • Make sure your starter is bubbly & ready to go. 
  • Boil 0,5 liter of water in a kettle for the hibiscus tea. Set it aside to steep. In a big kettle, measure the rest of the water and bring it to boil. Add sugars into the hot water and carefully mix until fully dissolved. Set aside.
  • Prepare the citrus fruits. Squeeze the blood orange juice and lemon juice. Make blood orange slices and remove white pith and seeds. Add them into the sugar water mix as well as the hibiscus tea.
  • Take the kettle outdoors or to another convenient place where it can cool. Let the mixture cool before adding the fermentation agent. This might take a few hours depending on the temperature of the space where you place the kettle. The liquid should be max 28C / 82,4F  for a sourdough starter. 
  • Take a small portion of the mixture & dissolve the sourdough within, then add this fermentation mix back to the drink. The temperature needs to be enough in order to activate the fermentation but keeping the temperature rather mild gives the beverage better flavor.
  • Once fermentation is added, either move the drink into an airtight container or cover kettle with cling film with utmost detail leaving zero air holes. Leave the drink mixture at room temperature for 12-24 hours (mine was 18h). Big mason jars are great because you know that the drink is ready to be bottled when the blood orange slices rise to the surface.



  • In advance, prepare glass bottles. Wash them, let them dry & sterilize in 125 Celcius oven for 30-45minutes. Remember to dip bottle tops, caps and seals in boiling water, too. Choose normal wine, juice or milk bottles over the ones with flip opener if making a fermented drink for the first time.
  • Before draining the drink, add 0.5-1 tsp of sugar and 2-4 sultanas or other dried fruit into each bottle depending on the size of the bottle.
  • Don’t stir or mix the fermented drink. Relax your hand & use a big soup ladle or a small jug in the draining process. Don’t fill the bottles all the way! Leave 3 centimeters of air space to the top of the bottle. Leave even more space if using brew bottles with flip opener. In the end, some of the fermented drink will have to be left behind. Don't add those murky last ounces into the bottles.
  • Once the batch is ready, transfer the bottles into the fridge for a few days. Keep the bottles in a vertical position. In the beginning, do not screw the bottle tops ‘super tight’ but ‘not too loose’ either. Re-check the stoppers after a day in the fridge and then close them all the way. When using flip openers, you need to give the bottles a burp and then close the bottles again.
  • It’s time, pop the bottle open! The drink is ready to be consumed when the sultanas are swollen and resurfaced on the top.  When the beverage is ready, it’s in good shape for a week or so in the fridge. 

Tips for safe fermentation

  • The recipe calls for 1/8 teaspoon of sourdough starter. Imagine it’s an amount equal to a very small dry pea! Trust me, you don’t want to add too much starter.
  • Of course, you want your beverage to be bubbly fresh and FIZZZZ. Ensuring a relaxed screw or giving the bottles a burp after the first night in the fridge will minimize the risk of too much carbonation.
  • If you’re not a friend of raisins, substitute them with small pieces of dried apricots. Dried fruits hold an important communicative task in the final stage of fermentation. If you’re fermenting for the first time and maybe added a bit too much sourdough against my better advice, then you absolutely want to have these teammates.
  • The raisins will surface just after the bottling, then descend and finally re-surface to the top again when the drink is ready. If this process goes through within 30 hours of so, you had to much starter.

Oh gosh this drink was amazing! Really fresh, full of flavors and less sweet in comparison to how I make sima. I know that blood orange season is short and maybe this recipe comes late for you. Substitute the blood orange with other citrus fruits and make your own flavor combo. Cheers and enjoy!

Love, Saara

Did you make a sourdough fermented drink? Do share in the comments below or give a shoutout on social media.


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