We brew our own kombucha. I’m sure you’ve noticed it sitting high atop the shelf in our back bar area. Of everything we do, it seems to capture peoples interest the most, which makes sense, because brewing kombucha looks really weird. The two most common responses to seeing our 60 litre batch brewing away in all its glory seem to be envy and confusion. If you know what a “mother” (or scobie as they are also called) is you’re generally going to be envious of the size and vitality of ours, if you don’t you’re confused about what such an alien looking substance is doing in a restaurant.
Kombucha is a fermented black tea. It has a fresh, funky, vinegary taste, and is a valuable probiotic ingredient in many of our elixirs and cocktails. It is sold in many stores, although most of stuff you can get in bottles off the shelf has been pasteurized to stop it from fermenting to a very low level of alcohol in the bottle, and has added sweeteners. The basic method for brewing kombucha is to make a very strong and sweet black tea, cool it to room temperature, add your “mother” (the bacterial starter culture) and then leave it in a warm place to ferment for 10-14 days, preferably in a glass vessel and covered with cheesecloth. You’ll know it’s going well if you see a new “mother” forming on the surface, which looks like pale white layer of goo, and will slowly grow thicker the longer your batch ferments. Interested in brewing a batch? Your first step is finding someone who can give you a “mother”, which in Victoria, shouldn’t be too hard!
Here’s the recipe for one of our favourite kombucha elixirs, “Kombucha Gingerale”
- 8 oz kombucha
- 1.5 oz ginger juice
- .5 oz fresh lemon juice
- .5 oz honey
- 2 oz soda water
A delicious and refreshing drink that’s probiotic, and has all the traditionally medicinal benefits of lemon and ginger? Yes.
Joe Cunliffe – Owner/Bartender