I jumped on the Kombucha bandwagon a while back and am still hanging on. I really like it because 1. it isn't very sweet 2. gives me a little pick me up in the afternoon and 3. it helps curb my sweets craving. It is a tea meets juice meets cider meets vinegar drink. Sounds weird and a little hippy, right? It is kind of weird and hippy since it starts from a mushroom kind of thingy and turns into fizzy yumminess with flavors galore. I drink a few ounces occasionally or use it to make cocktails that are really good and not too sweet. I will share a little more about kombucha and some of my favorites.
What is kombucha?
Kombucha, pronouned kom-BOO-cha, is a fermented drink made from tea, sugar, and a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). The SCOBY looks like a rubbery pancake. The mixture ferments to produce enzymes, acids, microflora, B vitamins and a tiny bit of alcohol. The fermentation process can sometimes cause a sour flavor as well as some carbonation. Most of them don't have sugar added after the fermentation process so are pretty low in sugar content.
Are there benefits of drinking kombucha?
There are a lot of health claims made about kombucha but not a lot of research done to back the claims. Some of the health claims include improved digestion, increased energy, immune support, decreased joint pain, and detoxification. There are also potential side effects including upset stomach, infections and allergic reactions. The risk increases when making kombucha at home due to potential contamination that can grow harmful bacteria.
How much kombucha should/could I drink?
For starters, test out a few ounces on the stomach to make sure you don't have any problems. There is really no scientific answer to this question but 4 to 8 ounces a day should be enough, you decide =) FYI, it is't calorie free but does not have nearly the amount of calories in soda or sweet tea.
My favorite types of kombucha and pairings for a cocktail
If you are a sweet mixed cocktail kind of drinker, substituting your mixer for kombucha can save you on the sugar and calories. You could also add it in to a sangria.
- My favorite is local Tea-Biotics in Lenexa, KS. Check them out here. They fill bottles and growlers of Kombucha at the Overland Park farmers market on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. None of the varieties I've tried have a sour taste to them. Types to try: watermelon, mule mixer and blueberry. The mule mixer is great with vodka and lime in a copper mug!
- Humm coconut lime kombucha (from Target). Follow them here. It is a little sweeter than others and not a strong coconut flavor. They also have a strawberry lemonade that is good. I like to mix gin with the coconut lime. It reminds me of a cocktail I had in Mexico with fresh coconut water. I've also tried it with spiced rum and that is also delish!
- Brew Dr. Kombucha citrus hops (in KC I can find it at Sprouts and some Price Choppers). Follow them here. It is light and has a little bit of a hoppy beer taste. I also like their spiced apple flavor. I have not made cocktails with these yet but the spiced apple sounds amazing with whiskey!
So benefits or not, I say YAY to kombucha and double YAY to kombucha cocktails. If it's wrong then I don't want to be right =) You can find a variety of kombucha at almost all grocery and health stores. Comment with any of your favorite flavors or kombucha cocktails.
Happy weekend friends!