If you’re looking for a quick way to make a special cocktail, try one of our favorite 3-ingredient summer drinks: the kombucha cocktail. All you need is kombucha + a base spirit + simple syrup. From there, you can add garnishes and experiment with slight variations, like infused syrups or bitters. But understanding this basic three-part cocktail is key.
Below, you'll find the tips we shared at our recent Kombucha Cocktail Workshop at A Culture Factory (Phoenixville, PA) along with two recipes, including the Kombucha Mojito.
Next time you're hosting a party, set up a kombucha bar and let people create their own drinks. You can make your own kombucha, of course, or find a local brand (we used Baba's Brew). Even better, if you have friends who like to ferment, invite them to bring their favorite seasonal home booch.
Tips for Kombucha Cocktails
- Pair dark spirits, like bourbon or dark rum, with dark-colored kombucha (like blueberry or chai).
- Pair light spirits, like gin or vodka, with light-colored kombucha, like lemon or chamomile.
- Make simple syrup in advance and use it to balance the tartness of your drink. You'll need to play with the ratios depending on how tart your kombucha is. As a starting point: begin with 1.5 ounces of your base spirit + 0.25 ounces of simple syrup + 2 ounces of kombucha. Then, adjust to your taste.
- Simple syrup (1 part water: 1 part sugar) is easy to make. We like to use raw cane sugar, which requires heating the mixture on the stove until the sugar dissolves, but if you use plain white sugar, you can just shake it up with warm water in a jar. If you want to infuse your syrup with herbs or spices, just simmer your syrup gently, turn off the heat, add the herbs/spices, and steep covered for about 30 minutes. Strain, then cool the syrup before making cocktails.
- Garnishes are key. For a garnish bar, try any of the following: mint, thyme, sage, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, citrus wheels, pineapple cubes, peach slices, edible flowers. Remember to set out cocktail skewers.
Bourbon & Booch with Blueberry & Ginger
- 11/2 ounces bourbon (we used Buffalo Trace)
- ¼ ounce ginger syrup (see below)
- 2 ½ ounces blueberry or kombucha
- Candied ginger round, for garnish
- Blueberries, for garnish
In a rocks, add bourbon and ginger syrup. Stir briefly. Then add ice, and top with kombucha. Garnish with a skewer of ginger and blueberries.
Ginger Syrup: In a saucepan, combine equal parts raw sugar and water (1 cup:1 cup). Add peeled coins of fresh ginger (about 2inches) and simmer covered for 30 minutes on medium heat. Strain out the ginger and cool, then pour into a bottle and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
- 1 ½ ounces white rum (we used Don Q)
- ½ ounce simple syrup or mint-infused syrup
- ½ ounce fresh lime juice
- 3 mint leaves + 1 mint sprig, for garnish
- 2 ounces light-colored kombucha
Muddle mint leaves and simple syrup in a rocks glass. Add ice and remaining ingredients, then stir gently. Garnish with a mint sprig.
Share your cocktails with us (@withthedarlingtons) on Instagram! We’d love to see what you’re sipping. For more tips, check out our book, The New Cocktail Hour.