From basil and berries to lemon and lavender, Storey staffers share their favorite recipes for flavoring homebrewed ’booch.
It’s a well-documented fact that kombucha fever is raging at Storey. It’s not unusual to find a few of us standing in the office kitchen talking about our latest flavoring experiments, or holding impromptu tastings of our homemade brews and swapping success stories as readily as we’ve handed off our extra SCOBYs.
From my own (newbie) experience, I can attest to the fact that once you’ve mastered the basics of brewing, playing with flavor is what keeps the process intriguing. Now that summer is here, fresh ingredients present a world of alluring possibilities. I’ve fallen in love with lemon-and-herb combinations, like Lemon Basil (recipe below), Lavender Lemonade (lemon zest and dried lavender flowers), and Herbal-ade (thyme plus lemon juice and zest), but I’ve also been busy polling my colleagues about which recipes from The Big Book of Kombucha they swear by. Here are their favorites, along with tweaks they’ve incorporated to get the taste just right for their tastebuds. Maybe this will inspire you to try your own!
Note: Quantities listed in parentheses are for 16 ounces / 1 gallon.
I make this one just as is. It’s got a bright, refreshing flavor and I love it straight or mixed with a little seltzer and/or ginger beer and bourbon. For my next batch, I’m going to try adding in fresh ginger root to kick up the spice (and once my holy basil plant gets a little bigger, I’m going to swap that in for my regular basil). — Emily Spiegelman, Digital Features Editor
Fresh lemon juice (2 tablespoons / ¾ cup)
Fresh basil, roughly chopped (2 teaspoons / ¼ cup)
I love Pink Lemonade kombucha. It’s the perfect, refreshing flavor for summer, and it’s even better mixed with gin! – Alethea Morrison, Creative Director
Strawberries, chopped (2 tablespoons / ½ cup)
Fresh thyme (1 sprig / 2 sprigs)
Fresh lemon juice (1 teaspoon / 1 ounce)
Ginger is my tried-and-true favorite (both raw and candied), and raspberry was the flavor that hooked my husband. When I want something different, I add a cinnamon stick or two per quart, which adds a nice touch of spice. — Lisa Hiley, Project Editor
Raspberries, lightly mashed (1 tablespoon / ¾ cup)
Fresh ginger, diced (1 teaspoon / 2 teaspoons)
Fresh lemon juice (1 teaspoon / 1 tablespoon)
My take on the Wise Berry recipe in the book uses mint instead of sage. To me, sage doesn’t have much flavor. We kept the proportions of berry-to-herb as they’re written recipe, and it was perfect. — Ash Austin, Marketing Designer
Blackberries, quartered (2 tablespoons / ¾ cup)
Fresh sage, roughly chopped (1 leaf / 4 leaves)
I’ve been making a version of this recipe using a 2:1 ratio of chamomile flowers to lavender, and a loose-leaf white peony white tea (instead of black tea), which gives the brew a fragrant, floral, almost champagne-like quality. It’s very tasty, and worth a try. — David Morrison, Marketing Art Director
Chamomile flower, dried (1 teaspoon / 1 tablespoon)
Lavender, dried (¼ teaspoon / 1 teaspoon)