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Anyone else out there in need of a break from the heavy, eggy, creamy, sugary drinks of the holiday season? Don’t get me wrong – I’ll happily get behind every nog and spiked hot chocolate that comes my way, but I simply cannot go drink-for-drink on the richer stuff.
Enter my favorite way to cleanse a cocktail palate this time of year: kombucha. If you’ve somehow missed the craze, kombucha is a lightly fermented tea with an almost vinegar-like tang. It’s a little tart, a little fizzy, and, in my humble opinion, delicious.
It’s also a fantastic mixer. Kombucha has many of the components of a well-balanced cocktail built right in and ready to go: acid (that tangy tartness), a bit of sweetness, and a bit of fizz. With some very light tweaking, ala the Moscow Mule or a G&T, you can pretty much just add your spirit and start sipping.
I add ginger, lemon and honey to my brew for a more robust flavor, and because something about that combo always feels like a soothing health tonic to me this time of year. And speaking of health, kombucha has been promoted as a cure-all of sorts, a drink that can repel anything from colds to liver disease and digestive upset. I’m no expert, but any excuse to drink more kombucha is a definite win for me.
I used Brew Dr. Kombucha (the Herbal Uplift variety), one of my favorite local Portland brands that’s also available nationally, but you can use any variety that’s on the milder side (anything too aggressively flavored or funky won’t balance as well). Just keep in mind that Kombucha sweetness varies, so you may need to tweak the amount of honey you’re adding here.
As a finishing touch, garnish your glass with lemon slices speared with a rosemary sprig for a wonderful rush of aromatics every time you bring your glass to your face. The almost pine-y scent of rosemary will keep you in the holiday spirit, and the lemon will keep things bright and refreshing. It’s a recipe you’re going to want to keep sipping all year round!
(1) Muddle the ginger with the honey and hot water in the bottom of a cocktail shaker until the ginger is broken up. Add ice, lemon, and vodka to the shaker.
(2) Shake for 10 seconds, then pour over ice and top with kombucha.