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.