If you read my piece in this month’s Boca mag, “Demystifying Kombucha,” then you know I’m a fan of kombucha. Well, once I found out that City Oyster created a kombucha cocktail menu, the drink got extra brownie points.
Ted Downey, bar manager at City Oyster in Delray Beach, created four specialty cocktails using kombucha from local brewery, Non-Prophet Brewing Co., to lighten up cocktails while still maintaining the fun fizz and fruit and herbal flavors that kombucha has to offer.
“We’re promoting a healthy balance,” he said.
But let’s back up a bit—for those of you who aren’t familiar with kombucha, it’s a fermented, sugar-sweetened tea using SCOBY(symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) and can be purchased at grocery stores and beer breweries have been adding them to their menus. Locally, kombucha is made at Non-Prophet in Boynton Beach and Kombulicious in Oakland Park.
Downey is a vegetarian and also a fan of kombucha, and he figured that if using healthy ingredients and cooking practices was successful in the food scene, why not carry it over to beverages?
Playing around with the idea, he started with the French martini—made with vodka, pineapple juice and Chambord, it can be topped off with a splash of Champagne or prosecco for that extra fizz. Instead, Downey finished off the cocktail with Dry Hopped Kombucha, a plain kombucha that doesn’t have the fruit flavor added at the end.
From there, the French Bucha was born.
Then came the Bucha Spritz, a play on an Aperol Spritz. I normally don’t like Aperols because of how syrup-y it can be, but this time, the kombucha seemed to make the drink lighter and less bitter. It ended up being one of my favorites that Downey made for me.
His personal favorite is the Mexican Bucha, a concoction of organic tequila, agave nectar, and passion fruit kombucha. The fourth drink on the menu is the Summer Bucha, made with Hendricks gin, orange juice, and Mango/Ginger Kombucha.
“We can take pretty much any drink with carbonation in it and use kombucha,” he said. “I like the way we’re headed with healthy options.”
I’ll toast to that!