With its immune-boosting antioxidants and its digestion-aiding probiotics, kombucha rose to popularity for its health benefits. But health nuts aren’t the only ones tossing back this tangy fermented tea. Mixologists from coast to coast love its distinctive flavor and flexibility as a mixer. If you’ve made a resolution to eat and drink smarter in the new year (and even if you haven’t), here are five kombucha cocktails to add some fizz to your January.
Greener Pastures at Alchemy Kombucha and Culture, San Antonio, Texas
As the taproom for San Antonio’s only kombucha brewery, Alchemy naturally has an entire section of the menu devoted to kombucha cocktails; Greener Pastures is among the most popular. “We took the idea of a Moscow mule and scrapped the juice and made the oleo with lime,” explains bartender Andrew Clyde. “Bison Grass Vodka is very herbal and replaces the ginger.” It also uses green tea kombucha. He suggests pairing it Alchemy’s lighter dishes, such as the crudité or the beet salad. Make a reservation at Alchemy Kombucha and Culture.
The Daily Routine at 24 Restaurant, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Created by bartenders Alison Hangen and Matt Polzin, the Daily Routine features Pimms, housemade ginger syrup, lime, and locally sourced Asian Pear Kombucha from Olga Sorzano of Baba’s Brew. Enjoy this refreshing libation with one of 24’s food-wired pizzas or antipasti such as roasted peppers or taleggio polenta. Make a reservation at 24 Restaurant.
Kombucha Mule at Farmer’s Bottega Restaurant, San Diego, California
Inspiration struck when general manager Fernando Tovar tried a Moscow Mule and then substituted ginger kombucha for the ginger beer. Farmer’s Bottega has a ginger kombucha from Living Tea on tap, so its bartenders work the ginger kombucha into a Kombucha Mule as well as a Kombucha Mojito. Tovar says the ginger kicks works with a variety of other ingredients and pairs well with spicy dishes. Make a reservation at Farmer’s Bottega Restaurant.
Rumbucha at L’oca D’oro, Austin, Texas
The fruit and aromatics in L’oca D’oro’s rum and kombucha cocktail change seasonally. For instance, honey-fig, peach-ginger, mango, or blueberry depending on what’s timely. The cocktail’s balance of sweet and tart won’t deaden your palate to the restaurant’s vibrant Italian fare. Says general manager Adam Orman, “There is a brightness that complements our antipasti plate or our happy hour snacks like Fried Mozzarella with Dandelion-Hazelnut Pesto or Sicilian Spiced Chicharrones.” Make a reservation at L’oca D’oro.
Kombucha Mojito at Oficina Latina, New York, New York
Oficina Latina’s liquor license only permits its bar to serve beer and wine, so the Latin American hot spot gets creative with libations like this clever twist on the classic mojito. It uses a coconut fermented rum made with a base of orange wine, as well as Kombrewcha, an organic kombucha produced in nearby Brooklyn, freshly squeezed apple and lemon-lime juices, and housemade ginger syrup. A garnish of mint and ginger candies complete the citrusy concoction. Make a reservation at Oficina Latina.
Susan Johnston Taylor is an Austin-based freelance writer who’s covered food and business for publications including The Boston Globe, Civil Eats, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Fresh Cup, and Pizza Today. Follow her @UrbanMuseWriter.