If I asked you “Would you like some month old tea with a mushroom growing in it?” you’d probably decline, because that sounds weird. Well, Kombucha is weird like that, but it’s also one of the fastest growing beverages in the United states today and is a delicious new curiosity to add to your cocktail arsenal. In the last ten years it has gone from a curiosity brewed by people who don’t shave to a soda replacement for the Whole Foods crowd.
It’s a drink formed, as most of the best drinks are, from introducing a living culture to a sugary environment. The culture grows, flourishes and ends up looking like a cross between a lily pad and a mushroom cap. Typically, you grow one of these cultures in a black or green tea. In the end the product comes out very cloudy, having adopted much of the flavor of the tea it was brewed in. However, the fermentation process gives the tea a carbonation and sour tinge to the flavor. The closest comparison I can draw is to a Belgian sour beer.
Kombucha has long been heralded as a natural remedy to the entire gamut of human ailments. From what I can gather, this comes from the live cultures. The idea is that when you consume a Kombucha tea, the living bacteria are introduced into your gut and these bacteria help your body digest food and offer a whole lot of other benefits.
I can’t say if that’s true, but I do know that there’s about 6 pounds of bacteria inside of our bodies. Science is just beginning to do the groundwork to figure out how the bacterial makeup of your body effects your health, so until it can be proven either way, let’s go ahead and say that Kombucha is great for you. That way you can mix one of these “guilt free” cocktails.
Naturally, once we here at Booziquely were introduced to Kombucha, we began entertaining the possibilities of what to mix it with. Basically there were two differing cocktail philosophies our mixologists came up with around Kombucha. The first camp was the sourness camp. Their goal was to use the tart, vinegaresque taste of an unpasteurized Kombucha to replace other ingredients that would normally give a cocktail a sweet and sourness. The obvious first choice then was to do something that came from a Whiskey Sour ancestry. The second camp went in an entirely different direction. Certain store bought brands of Butch are very fruity and very fizzy. They are basically a fermented soda pop, which lends itself perfectly as a replacement to anything that’s supposed to be sweet and fizzy. Think sparkling wine, or in the case of our example recipe below, ginger beer. So without further ado, our simple Kombucha recipes for the week: