It’s a warm, mid-August evening in Haringey, North London, and there’s a hint of something like Beatlemania in the air. Alex Honnold – the first man ever to climb Yosemite’s El Capitan without ropes or safety gear – is in town to spend a day with London’s climbing community, and the queues are really starting to build up outside the Castle Climbing Centre.
Whether you call it a mocktail, a non-alcoholic cocktail or an alcohol-free cocktail, there seems to be some debate as to whether a decent boozeless drink can be mixed using kombucha. On a recent trip to The Pig Hotel (near Bath), any misgivings we might have had were laid to rest. Not only is it possible, but Yann – The Pig’s mixologist – has come up with some of the tastiest drinks we’ve ever had the pleasure of quaffing. Follow the videos and recipes below to find out more about these wonderful kombucha cocktails – but for the real thing, […]
Brexit and Donald Trump aside, the physical and mental health of our population is among the most common topics focused on by the media today. Increasingly, the headlines are dominated by the debate on sugar. The problem that we find with many of these headlines, however, is that – for whatever reason – they can be frustratingly misleading.
On August 13th, we’ll be pitching up at the Mindful Drinking Festival in Bermondsey Square. The first event of its kind, this will be a celebration of #DryNotDull drinking (click the hashtag for more details) – a chance to try out some of the best non-alcoholic beers, cocktails and sophisticated soft drinks on the market today. As brewers of an adult-oriented, non-alcoholic drink, we’re quite excited. We’ll be lining up a series of tasting tables and offering around our wares. It’s going to be a grand old day out.
If you have heard of kombucha then it’s possible you’ve heard tell of the mythical scoby creature. Whether you’ve met one or not, it’s perfectly normal to find yourself asking this simple but important question: what the f*#k is a scoby and what does it think it’s doing on top of my brew?
In the days of yore, back when kombucha was mainly associated with New Age communities, celebrity kombucha drinkers who weren’t Madonna or Gwyneth Paltrow were far and few between. Scroll forward several years and things have become a tad more ‘normal’. Everyone’s drinking kombucha these days – you certainly don’t have to be an A-list celebrity with flowers in your hair to look right with a bottle of booch.
How do you serve your booch? I have been seen, on the odd occasion, supping a Smoke House straight out of the bottle, and it is tough to fight the urge to draw off a warm glass of Royal Flush straight out of the fermenter, sweet and fruity with a touch of lanolin. It’s just like milk straight from the cow. But is there a way that you ought to serve your Real Kombucha? What’s the best glass? Should you take it neat? Each to their own I say, but here’s the way I like it.
Without wanting to turn my weekly column into an open therapy session, it does seem I’m rather prone to admitting things. Last week I had to hold my hands up and say that I was, in fact, a non-alcoholic. This week I’ve got to come clean and admit that I’m not a hippy after all.
We don’t like to dwell too much on the science of what we brew; we think you are more interested in sitting back and quaffing a wonderfully rich and refreshing glass of kombucha and leaving the boffin bit to us. But for those that want to understand a bit of what we do, here goes.
As you probably know by now, kombucha is a yeast and bacterial fermentation of sweet tea that produces a drink that sits somewhere along the spectrum of cider, beer and wine. That said, it has a very low alcohol content, has pretty low sugar and only a few calories, and there are those that would have us also believe that it is a cure for almost every ailment in the book. We are not completely convinced, but it certainly makes you feel tip top.
Here’s an admission I never expected to have to make: I’m not an alcoholic. There, I’ve said it. I’ve come clean. I’m 10 years off the booze and, just to nip this in the bud should I end up going out drinking with one of you in the near future, not drinking doesn’t automatically mean I’ve been dealing with my demons.
As drinks go, kombucha is a fairly polarising substance. There are those that love it, can’t get enough of it, and can’t be without it even for a day or two. We (did I just admit to being one of these… ?) can be seen lugging a heavier than usual bag through the airport on a weekend away, laden down by the mighty booch.
Earlier this year, here on this very blog, we discussed what it means to be mindful – how it’s not the hippy-dippy nonsense that so many naysayers have it down as, and how a little bit of mindfulness here and there can make a world of difference. Keen to do all we can to help those in our community feel a little better in themselves, and always on the lookout to discover a new way of drinking, we were delighted to hear about the Mindful Drinking Festival, taking place at Bermondsey Square Hotel on August 13th.
To those in the kombucha world, a well-formed scoby is a thing of beauty. Not only is it quite a miracle that a pot full of bacteria can collectively manufacture a thick layer of cellulose, sometimes and inch or more thick, but it’s also strangely enticing to find that the cellulose itself is soft, pliable and has the texture of a deliciously fresh squid. Or maybe that’s just me…
What do you call a kombucha novice? No, this isn’t a joke. There is no punchline. We’ve all been there and experienced that very first sip, accompanied by an anticipation that tinges on a mild form of fear. After all, how could something so tasty come from something so weird-looking?