If you’ve ever searched for beverages or drinks on this site, you’ve probably noticed it’s a bit scarce in that department. The truth is I rely on three staples to get me through morning, noon, and night —> coffee, sparkling water, and white wine. I’ll deviate from that lineup when I’m at Tattersall Distillery having some of the best cocktails on the planet, or my grocery store $$ splurge on a bottle of kombucha – my reward for making it through another shopping trip, similar to getting to pick out a candy bar at the checkout aisle when I was young.
It’s pretty commonplace now to see fermented beverages (the booch, shrubs, switchel) on shelves or menus, the health benefits forging a strong relationship with trendy – neither of which I’m sad about. I like their subtle, fruity tartness and slightly effervescent character, which my body craves.
Kombucha has always been quite a mystery to me, that strange scooby thing, growing like an alien amongst a tea mixture, and somehow turning into an energizing elixir. I tried making it once with the help of a book, but there were just too many unfamiliar variables that had me questioning what the heck I was doing. I learn better from having someone teach me in person, so when I saw “Kombucha class & cocktail workshop” on the agenda for the Eat Sea Retreat I was attending at Terranea Resort (thanks to Amelia for organizing!), curious excitement flowed through me. And then when I saw my own brewing vessel with Heartbeet Kitchen written on it, I shrieked like a little girl who gets her own personalized scooter.
Daina of Health-Ade taught us the way, sharing her amazing story of how she started her company, one of the only kombucha brewers out there producing on a large scale strictly with glass vessels, and not adding probiotics – ensuring all natural fermentation. Just like any industry or consumable product, you’d be surprised to know what some companies do to meet demand and cut costs, and their quality standards. Her flavor combinations are incredible, the Maca Berry and Pink Lady Apple tasting so good they’re still a reward at the grocery store even though I’ve got my own little kombucha lab bubbling away at home.
So as girls do, we ended the workshop with cocktails, using Pomegranate kombucha, passionfruit bitters, gin, and fresh sage. Equal parts fizzy, herbal, fruity, and refreshing, I wouldn’t have minded a second.
I’ve been playing with different cocktail combinations since I left, revolving around the white peach kombucha I brewed myself in my personalized jug. (I’ll leave the step-by-step instructions to the experts since I’m still dabbling, but just a side note that the flavor of your kombucha comes from a shorter, secondary fermentation, which also gives it the extra fizz.)
This is the type of cocktail that really doesn’t have rules. You can make it for two or twenty, serve it in fancy cocktail glasses or mason jars – even a punch bowl. And best of all it fits right into the Friday Five: just five ingredients. I’m calling it the summer of the kombucha cocktail. Cheers!
BASIC EQUATION = kombucha flavor you like + whatever type of bitters you have on hand + vodka or gin + sparkling water + fresh herbs.
As I mentioned, all of my inspiration for this cocktail came from my time spent at Terranea Resort with 8 other lovely, talented ladies in food blogging. We spent time sharing valuable information, learning from each other, and enjoying the intense beauty of California. My heart is always here in Minnesota, but there’s some about the air, the waves, the sun that’s magically different. A huge thanks to the sponsors that helped make it possible and support our creative passions – Earthbound Farm, Organic Valley, Healthade, and Terranea Resort.
The girls! Left to right, Megan from Country Cleaver, Melissa from The Faux Martha, Sonja from A Couple Cooks, Amelia from Eating Made Easy, Ashley from Edible Perspective, Me :), Lauren from Climbing Grier Mountain, and Erin from Her Heartland Soul. xoxo