Tart and tangy kombucha gets a delicious upgrade when mixed with lime juice and dark cherries in this one-of-a-kind mocktail. This bubbly concoction is a satisfying and healthy alternative to a sugary cocktail. Just because it doesn’t have any gin or tequila doesn’t mean we can’t give ourselves a salty & sweet dipped rim and edible nasturtium blooms. I cannot wait to show you how to make these!
Kombucha has been a staple around our homestead for the past several years. It was one of those things that always left me thinking, “Man, I’d love to know how to do that!” I was unsure how to start fermenting on my own and very intimidated by the process. Once I began brewing kombucha, I quickly realized that it was much simpler than I had originally thought. Kinda like everything we do around here, you know?
Pigs… chickens… sourdough… cooking venison… the list goes on and on!
Is kombucha hard to make?
No way! It’s really simple. To read about it further, tap over to How to Brew Kombucha at Home and then come back!
I just provide the right ingredients at the right time, and nature does the rest. I’m going to give you the cliff notes version of what kombucha is and how to make it. Kombucha is fermented sweet tea. The ingredients to make kombucha are sugar, black tea, filtered water, and a SCOBY.
A SCOBY is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast that keeps the fermented tea in perfect balance. The SCOBY is not an attractive living organism… think tea-soaked pile of crepes. She might not be beautiful, but she’s pretty cool once you give her a chance! I made an IGTV video last year that demonstrates the process. Check it out if you are a visual learner!
How to carbonate and flavor kombucha?
Once the sweet tea has been fermented to the desired flavor, which for me is about two weeks, the kombucha is ready for an optional secondary fermentation. The secondary fermentation will create carbonation and is the perfect time to flavor the booch with fruit purées or juices. The fruit adds sugar to the fermented tea, which the bacteria and yeast consume. This creates an extra bubbly drink!
Adding juice and purées to the kombucha is purely a ‘taste and see’ type of recipe. I’m going to tell you my ‘recipe,’ but just know that my taste might be different than yours. I allow my sweet tea to ferment for ten to fifteen days. I enjoy the flavor and tartness the most within this range.
After the tea has fermented, I use week-style bottles to do a secondary fermentation that takes about two days. I fill the bottle ⅓ of the way full with juice or fruit purée, then top it off with kombucha, leaving about an inch of head space. After a day or two sitting on the counter, the kombucha is ready to drink or refrigerate!
Best juices for flavoring kombucha
The sweeter the juice, the sweeter the kombucha. More juice (sugar) equals sweeter kombucha. Get it? Everyone has different tastebuds, so be adventurous and play around with the ratios and timing!
Let me share a few of my favorite combinations! I enjoy adding sparkling mineral water to my kombucha to help tone it down a bit and stretch it further. Any of these recipes would be delicious mixed with mineral water.
- Dark Cherry & Lime || Fill a bottle ⅓ full with dark cherry juice, then top it off with kombucha. Secondary ferment it for two more days at room temperature. Serve over ice with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and lime wedges. Garnish with sliced citrus fruit or edible flowers, like nasturtiums or pansies.
- Orange Mango || This is one of the simplest variations I make. I buy a bottle of organic Orange Mango juice from the supermarket and fill a bottle ⅓ full with the juice, then top it off with kombucha. Once the secondary fermentation is complete, I store it in the fridge until I’m ready for a citrusy boost!
- Grape || Think sweet red wine. This is one of my friend’s favorite kombucha blends. I just follow the ⅓ to ⅔ ratio and allow it to secondary ferment for 1-2 days. My kids think it tastes just like grape soda!
How to make dark cherry kombucha mocktails
When I want a refreshing and bubbly drink, kombucha mocktails are my go-to. As with any mocktail or cocktail, it all starts with the perfect glass. A serving size of kombucha is about four ounces, but honestly we go WAY further than that at our house! I usually drink eight ounces at a time… I probably have the most well-fed gut micro biome of all time (JK… that’s a gross joke. I should probably erase it.)
Before I fill a glass with ice, I mix Himalayan salt and coarse organic sugar on a mason jar lid. The rim of the glass gets a little swipe of lime wedge juice and then a gently swirl in the sweet & salty mix. Next up, plenty of ice! Depending on the taste I am in the mood for, I either fill it with dark cherry kombucha or I cut it with mineral water.
A splash of extra dark cherry juice and a squeeze of lime finishes it oh-so-right. The nasturtiums are blooming in the garden, so I garnished the glasses with fresh edible blooms.
Alright, friends. Cannot wait to hear what you think of my Dark Cherry Kombucha Mocktails! If you make it, please tag me on instagram @ninnescahhomestead so I can see it! Now I’m going to go pour my self a not-quite-five-o’clock mocktail! After five? A shot of gin would be delightful, just sayin.’ Cheers!