‘Bucha Basics: A beginner’s guide to ‘buchtails

How to combine your separate loves for kombucha and cocktails

By Jacey Gibb, Distribution Manager

Welcome to ‘Bucha Basics, where we cover everything there is to know about homebrewing kombucha

I’ve voiced my skepticism over the health benefits of kombucha, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying its non-medicinal benefits. Like how fucking great kombucha tastes in a cocktail.

Henceforth known as ‘buchtails, kombucha makes a great addition to boozy bevies. It’s flavourful, already slightly carbonated, and has significantly less sugar than comparable liquids like juice or pop. There are plenty of existing cocktail recipes that you could easily insert kombucha into, so hopefully, this article is just the jumping-off point.

Before you start following any of these recipes willy-nilly, however, I strongly recommend tasting your latest batch before assuming its flavour profiles. Even if you follow the exact same steps between brews, there’s always a chance it can taste dramatically different. Just give your ‘buch a sip before blindly pouring it into a cocktail shaker.

Let’s start with something familiar: a Moscow Mule. Cookie and Kate has a fantastic recipe using ginger or gingerberry kombucha; just prepare this drink just like you would any Mule but substitute the ginger beer for kombucha. Due to a Mule’s simplicity (only three ingredients), it’s important to use high-quality vodka, or else you’ll throw all the flavours off.

If you’re looking for something more subtle, Food and Wine has a Whiskey Sour variant using kombucha. All the usual Whiskey Sour ingredients are here, but kombucha replaces some of the typical lemon juice. Any citrusy kombucha will go great here.

One cocktail recipe I’ve had my eye on, but have yet to try, is the Rosy-Gin Kombucha Cocktail from Bon Appetit. It has all the beginnings of a Negroni (gin, Campari) but then deviates with fresh lemon juice, grated ginger, and unflavoured kombucha.

Throughout ‘Bucha Basics, I’ve always advocated for breaking off and doing your own thing, and the same goes for ‘buchtails. You know your flavour preferences more than I do, so feel free to experiment. You’ll absolutely make some terrible drinks along the way, but it’s immensely satisfying when you nail one.

One of my all-time favourite combinations is just a straight hi-ball of mango kombucha with Wild Turkey bourbon, which vaguely reminds me of a southern sweet tea. Peach or pineapple kombucha also pairs well with bourbon.

Another original of mine is blueberry kombucha with gin and crushed mint. It’s similar to a gin-smash cocktail, except for the flavourless part. (Gin smash lovers: Don’t @ me.) This ‘buchtail works especially well with a milder batch of blueberry kombucha, so reduce the secondary fermentation by a day or so.

The final original recipe I’m going to leave you with is a strawberry kombucha whiskey lemonade, which I adapted from a Life as a Strawberry recipe. It’s so simple that the three ingredients are in its name: whiskey, fresh lemon juice, and strawberry kombucha. I won’t give you exact ratios since it’ll depend on the intensity of your ‘buch, but I recommend starting at a 1:2:2 ratio, and then working from there, adding more of whatever you think it needs. If the tartness is taking over, don’t be afraid to add some simple syrup.