Fermentation is one of my very favorite ways to experiment in the kitchen. From a wild yeast sourdough, to fermented vegetables from the garden to kombucha. The entire process is a lesson of time, patience, the right ingredients – and much like in life, varies greatly based on the conditions of the environment.

We’ve been discussing all things kombucha this summer over on my Instagram. Giving you a re-cap of how to make it yourself would be great…but I thought it would be even better to give you a cocktail utilizing your homemade kombucha!

Making kombucha at home really is quite simple. It’s also cost effective versus paying $4-5 per bottle on store bought kombucha. You’ll need a few supplies, some readily available ingredients and a SCOBY.

SCOBY is an acronym for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. Put bluntly: it may look disgusting, but its the living home for the bacteria and yeast that transform sweet tea into tangy, fizzy kombucha. The SCOBY bacteria and yeast eat most of the sugar in the tea, transforming the tea into a fizzy, slightly sour fermented (but mostly non-alcoholic) beverage that is relatively low in calories and sugar.

The recipe I followed with a few tweaks can be found on the kitchn’s site. From there, I was given a few tips and tricks from the help of my friend, Laurie.

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Tips for making kombucha:

  1. I use a 1/2 organic green tea + 1/2 organic black tea combo for a fizzier kombucha.
  2. Once your kombucha has fermented the appropriate amount of time and flavored, bottle them in long neck bottles to prevent it from going flat.
  3. Your fermentation process will vary based on the climate in which you live, and also the humidity levels and temperature of your home. A cooler, less humid room will slow the fermentation process. Because of this, begin checking the flavor at the 7 day mark. The first batch I did took 13 days to reach my desired flavor. For a sweeter kombucha, ferment for a shorter duration. For a more tangy kombucha, ferment for a longer time.
  4. Don’t use any steel or metal objects when fermenting, stirring or straining the kombucha. Using metal increases the chance of killing off the good bacteria necessary for the process.
  5. Refrigerate the finished kombucha once bottled to slow the fermentation process down. Note that it will continue to ferment even after it’s bottled.
  6. After the initial ferment, I use roughly chopped fresh fruits, vegetables or herbs in large mason jars and allow it to ferment an additional 2-3 days covered with a paper towel and rubber band.

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Ingredients + Tools needed for Kombucha:

  1. Black and Green tea
  2. Sugar
  3. SCOBY. I bought mine from my local co-op but amazon also sells them.
  4. Fermentation jar. I purchased this one from amazon for $15, which also includes a cheesecloth and rubber band for the top.
  5. Long neck bottles. I purchased this set of 4 from amazon for $18.99. Ikea also has some for $2.99 each.
  6. Funnel. I purchased this duo from amazon for $6.99.
  7. 2 cups reserved already made or store bought kombucha.

Margarita recipe

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I love spicy margaritas! The spicier, the better. This packs a good punch, both from an infused tequila, as well as from the strawberry jalapeño kombucha. You can certainly tone it down by using a plain tequila if you’d like.

The kombucha is infused with 2 diced jalapeños and 6-8 diced strawberries to one large mason jar for 2-3 days. It’s by far my favorite kombucha flavor I’ve made to date. For a less spicy version, infuse it for 1 day. Be sure to include the seeds as the capsaicin is what brings the heat.

To infuse your tequila, grab 8-10 peppers you’d like, be it jalapeños, serranos or habañeros. Slice them into halves and put them in the tequila bottle and let them work their magic. A good infusion takes place anywhere from 7-10 days, but you can get some good kick in as little as a day.

From there, you’ll just need a couple limes and some sparkling water. I’m not one for overly sweet margaritas with sugary mixes. This one is the perfect balance of spice, acidity and the slightest touch of sweet from the strawberry in the kombucha. Recipe yields 2 margaritas. Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. infused or plain silver tequila, divided
  • 4 oz. strawberry jalapeño kombucha, divided
  • Juice of 2 limes, divided
  • 4 oz. lime sparkling water, divided.

Method:

  1. Grab 2 tall glasses, rims lined with salt + filled with ice.
  2. Pour 2 oz. each of the infused tequila and kombucha over ice in each glass.
  3. Add the juice from one lime to each cocktail.
  4. Top with 2 oz sparkling water. Give each a light stir. Cheers!

 

 

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