3 of a Kind checks out three places across the country to try something cool, new and delicious.
Part fermented potion, part hippie-joke punchline, kombucha existed long before yogis and hipsters caught on to it. The ancient beverage — made with fermented tea, sugar and scoby, a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast — has now started popping up on cocktail menus. It’s beloved by bartenders who combine it with juice, beer and spirits to create thoroughly modern cocktails.
Marco Polo, Betony, New York
At Betony, kombucha is made with a scoby that is four or five years old. Inspired by the explorer of the same name, the Marco Polo is a tour of the world: The drink combines refreshingly sour tea (which originated in China) with bittersweet amaro from Italy and an IPA representing India. The drink is garnished with cucumber and is great as an aperitif. Kombucha is also served with a variety of seasonal ingredients, such as cranberry, tobacco or chamomile.
Kombucha Moscow Mule, Bar Sajor, Seattle
Given that Bar Sajor makes its own yogurt, charcuterie, bread and all kinds of pickles, it’s no wonder that bartender Joel Culpin makes his own kombucha. The resulting tea is used in a rotating list of cocktails, including a gin and tonic and a Moscow mule made with a house ginger syrup.
Devil Makes Three, Alchemy Kombucha and Culture, San Antonio
Alchemy Kombucha and Culture is the taproom and restaurant for local kombucha company Element Kombucha, so the cocktails rotate to best showcase the house flavors. Current options include Greener Pastures, which adds grassy vodka and lime to green tea kombucha, and the Devil Makes Three, with sherry, blueberry jam, lime, bay leaf gomme and smoky black kombucha.
To spike your kombucha at home, make the Kombucha-cha-cha.
Photos courtesy of Ashley Sears, Dylan + Jeni, and Joseph Hernandez