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Entertaining
Get Funky With Kombucha Cocktails, aka “Booch”

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Though it was birthed in 220 BCE in Northeast Asia (before the Great Wall of China was even built), kombucha was only recently embraced by hipsters and health nuts, who claim it can cure everything from the common cold to greying hair. Thanks to this mainstream attention, the fermented, tea-based beverage now comes in flavors beyond the standard black or green tea, ranging from fruity to herbal to spicy. And this development has piqued the interest of yet another group: bartenders.

Innovative mixologists have taken a shine to kombucha’s peppy fizz and funk, using it to create a combination of hooch and kombucha lovingly known as “booch.” The complex drink comes pre-packed with a roller coaster of flavors, so mixing it into a cocktail isn’t as easy as “just add whiskey.” But we found a few bartenders that were able to harness the living drink’s wild nature. Here, three very different interpretations of booch: a tropical punch, a dry-spiced garden sipper, and a fearsome, spicy, spirited cocktail.

Matthew Kelly/Supercall
The Element Black Dragon Kombucha is a formidable beast. The spicy black tea kombucha is infused with black cardamom and piquin peppers (which are 13-40 times hotter than jalapeños) for a serious kick, but Andrew Clyde of Alchemy Kombucha and Culture in San Antonio tamed its bite with the help of sweet bourbon and Cherry Heering. Vegetal Cynar and cinnamon then add depth to this tall glass of fierce flavor. “The black cardamon plays very well with the earthiness of the Cynar,” Clyde explains, “and the chiles push the spice on the back end in conjunction with the cinnamon.” After slaying this dragon, you’ll definitely seek out another.

The Essentials

Bourbon
Black tea Kombucha
cinnamon
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The Lusca was a giant, octopus-like sea monster of Caribbean legend, which prowled the tropical waters, sinking the good ships of colonial rum merchants. Though it surely caused some rum-based tragedies back then, it went on to inspire a modern day rum revelation. This punch from Rob McShea of Miss B’s Coconut Club in San Diego, is a wealth of three different rums, amped up by nutty nocello liqueur, tropical fruits, grapefruit beer and guava-mango kombucha. McShea sees the kombucha as a natural extension of the historic tradition of using teas to fill out punches, adding that, “The kombucha adds a natural but tart fruit flavor and an effervescence through natural carbonation, which helps layer flavors without saturating it with sweetness.”

At the bar, McShea serves the bubbly punch in an octopus-shaped punch bowl, enshrouded in a dry ice mist. But made at home, it’s equally delicious presented simply in a basic bowl or pitcher.

The Essentials

Kombucha
Grapefruit Beer
Mixed Rums
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This twist on the traditional Pimm’s Cup remixes the garden party staple with funky fresh kombucha. Created by Alison Hangen and Matt Polzin of Jose Garces' 24 in Philadelphia, the Daily Routine (named after a song by RZA of Wu-Tang Clan fame) is a spirtzy cocktail of Asian pear kombucha, spicy ginger syrup and Pimm’s Cup No. 1. A garnish of cooling cucumber slices keep the long drink looking pretty and proper. It’s definitely worth making part of your daily routine.

The Essentials

Ginger
Pimm's
Kombucha

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