The first time I was introduced to Kombucha I was just about to head into a gruelling Bikram Yoga class about three or four years ago. I was huddled in a group of middle aged yogis, meandering around outside the studio wearing nothing more than bike shorts and a crop.
They looked beyond fabulous.
I sat there with my soft stomach hiding under a loose tank and listened as they shared flavour combinations for this strange fermented drink they were all raving about, describing their home brew set up in their apartment garages and how incredible it made them feel.
Kombucha, as amazing as it is, fits into the category of those things that outside that small, safe yoga circle makes you sound like the biggest hippy out there.
You head down to the local paleo cafe on your lunch break and proudly announce your purchase of your calendula and rose potion, but back in the judgmental surrounds of your inner city office, you sip it sheepishly at your desk, pretending it’s just a fancy mineral water.
Nothing to see here folks.
When I was a little girl, my parents pulled out all sorts of trickery to get us to eat our veggies. They tried to outsmart us with pumpkin in the mashed potato, grated veggies in the spag bol and a little pile of peas hiding under the gravy and we ate them none the wiser.
Kombucha is very much the same. You’re not going to put a plate of brussels sprouts in front of a three year old any more than you are going to hand a skeptic a glass and proudly tell them they are drinking fermented tea.
Made by maturing sweetened tea for 5 – 7 days with a culture called a scoby, Kombucha is a low sugar, high probiotic version of a soft drink. The fermenting process consumes nearly all the sugar and as a result carbonates your drink.
When I was in the Witsundays over Christmas I fell in love with lime and rosemary gin and tonics. The flavour combination was something else and I couldn’t stop thinking about how to introduce it into something somewhat more healthy than a cocktail.
If you are keen to try Kombucha but can’t quite get your head around it this version is a good place to start. Tell your family it’s a like gin and tonic, I bet they won’t even blink twice.
1 cup raw sugar
3.25 litres water
5 black tea bags
1/2 cup kombucha
3 sprigs rosemary
1 lime, juiced then quartered
1. Combine water and raw sugar in a big pot and heat under sugar dissolves
2. Add tea bags and let infuse until the liquid is room temperate. Add kombucha
3. Add tea to very large glass jar (or multiple jars) and slide in scoby. If you have multiple jars you can cut your scoby
4. Cover jar/s with muslin and a tie, then let sit in a dark cupboard for 5 -7 days
5. Remove scoby with clean hands and place in a container. Cover with 1/2 cup of the kombucha which you will use to make your next batch
6. Pour kombucha into jars or bottles, add rosemary, lime juice and lime and put the caps on.
7. Let ferment for another two days, then place in the fridge.