The name started as a joke but it stuck. With our pandan bug we thought of creating a fizzy fermented drink with its go-to food pairing, buko (coconut).
The buko pandan flavor in this drink is mild because this is all natural and does not have the condensed milk typical in buko pandan.
If you want a stronger pandan flavor, you can swap one cup of strong pandan tea for one cup of buko juice. You can also make some pandan-infused sugar syrup and use that as sweetener. Because both require heating, make sure you bring the tea and sugar syrup to room temperature when you use them.
For this recipe I decided to use balicucha as my sweetener. I didn’t have refined white sugar in my kitchen but I didn’t want to darken my drink with muscovado sugar.
According to Ritual (not sponsored), which sells it, balicucha is raw sugarcane syrup that has been boiled down, pulled, and shaped into something like hard candy.
Made in Ilocos, balicucha dissolves easily in liquid and has a caramel flavor that was noticeable in the drink. If you don’t want that caramel flavor, you can use your preferred sweetener.
Because of buko juice’s tendency to turn sour quite fast, I like fermenting this drink for just two days. I made it in the summer, and two days was enough to get some carbonation and still have the mild buko and pandan flavor. Feel free to experiment based on your preference.
- 3 cups of buko juice (around 2 buko; or 2 cups buko juice and 1 cup pandan tea)
- 3 pcs of balicucha or 3 Tbsp sugar
- 3 Tbsp pandan bug
- In a pitcher, add buko juice and dissolve the balicucha in the juice. If you’re using granulated sugar, dissolve it first in half a cup of buko juice then combine with the rest.
- Add the pandan bug and stir well with a wooden or non-reactive spoon.
- Transfer to a bottle or jar with an airtight lid. Make sure to leave at least 2 inches of headroom.
- Leave to ferment on the kitchen counter for 2 to 3 days, burping daily to avoid gas build up.