Foodie Underground: Should Kombucha Be Your Party Drink?


If you haven’t understood my love for kombucha, you mustn’t been spending enough time reading Foodie Underground. But as I discussed a couple of months ago, there’s really no point in spending $4-5 on bottled fermented tea when you can make your own. And if there was ever a time to commit to brewing your own kombucha, it’s now.

Why? Last week Whole Foods pulled all the kombucha from their shelves because testing showed that the drink might have elevated alcohol levels that would necessitate a government warning. Kombucha certainly isn’t up their in the ranks with wine and beer, but according to the law, products containing 0.5 percent or more of alcohol have to carry a government warning.

The concerns over elevated alcohol levels may or may not be justified, but a couple dozen of Whole Foods’ kombucha suppliers agreed to a voluntary withdrawal of the product. To understand just what 0.5 percent alcohol content means, think of a can of non-alcoholic beer, a drink that has an alcohol content of less than 0.5 percent of its volume. In other words, we’re certainly not talking Friday night drinks with the ladies, so you can keep chugging on that kombucha guilt-free.

But if you are looking for a way to spice up your cocktail hour (and in response to our “should kombucha be your party drink?” question, we say “yes!”), here are a couple of kombucha inspired drinks that should do the trick.

The Basic

  • 1 part vodka
  • 1 part tonic water or club soda
  • 1 part Kombucha

Pour over ice

Note: if you want to get fancy, throw in a splash of juice concentrate or a liqueur. My personal favorite is crème de cassis.

The Mojito

  • 1 cup plain Kombucha
  • 1 lime quatered
  • 6 mint leaves
  • ice
  • mineral water
  • 4-6 drops of stevia
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • a shake of sea salt (optional)

Muddle mint with lime in a tall glass and add the rest.

I haven’t personally tried this one, but discovered it recently and it’s on the “drink to-do list.”

Make Your Own

If you’re feeling extra feisty, create your own kombucha cocktail. Need help? Mombucha, sold at the Brooklyn’s popular Green Point Food Market, recommends blending with bourbon, whiskey or scotch. Vodka and rum are also great candidates. Now get to mixing.

Non-Alcoholic But Still Fun

Smoothies are certainly the way to go if you want a non-alcoholic pick me up that includes kombucha. Here’s a basic recipe to play with:

  • 10 ounces orange
  • 4 ounces Kombucha tea
  • 5-6 large fresh strawberries OR 1 cup of chopped pineapple
  • 1-2 large bananas
  • Other fruits to throw in at your discretion: blueberries, raspberries, cherries, etc.

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Enjoy!

Editor’s note: This is the latest installment of Anna Brones’s column at EcoSalon, Foodie Underground. Each week, Anna will be taking a look at something new and different that’s taking place in the underground food movement, from supper clubs to mini markets to culinary avant garde.

Image: Anna Brones

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.