You have probably heard of the buzz surrounding kombucha – this fermented, lightly fizzy drink made from sweetened tea is particularly popular among the health-conscious due to its many health benefits.
Not only is it a source of antioxidants and minerals, but because it is fermented, it’s great at helping with digestion, which is particularly important around Christmas time when we might find ourselves over-indulging in so many delicious, rich foods!
If you’re looking for some inspiration for how you can enjoy kombucha this festive season, then you have come to the right place! Here, Emma Thackray, co-founder of Hip Pop shares her favourite ways to enjoy kombucha at Christmas.
All the fun of a cocktail but with a healthy twist – now that’s definitely something we can all get behind!
Due to its unique flavour profile, the tart, acidic notes of kombucha make it an ideal addition to many classic recipes, and its effervescent qualities make it a great alternative to include in cocktails which call for a carbonated element such as soda. Try substituting ginger beer for ginger kombucha in a Moscow Mule or adding a dash of strawberry flavoured kombucha to prosecco or champagne for the perfect winter party drink.
While there is nothing complicated to making your favourite cocktails with kombucha, there are a few things to bear in mind to get the best results. The level of sweetness can vary, so it’s a good idea to taste your kombucha before using it in a cocktail, and always add it last to preserve its delicate fizz.
It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a cheeseboard, and while pairing cheese with kombucha may seem like an unlikely match, its lively, funky flavour compliments a range of different types of cheese.
Fruit flavoured kombuchas are a perfect match with hard cheeses such as parmesan, pecorino, or Manchego. Apple and elderflower kombucha is a great alternative to pairing cloth-bound cheddar with cider, while Swiss and other hard alpine cheeses work particularly well with pineapple-infused kombucha.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, spiced kombuchas made with ginger or cayenne pepper wonderfully compliment blue cheeses such as Caveman Blue or washed-rind cheeses like Pont-l’Évêque or taleggio.
Kombucha festive punch
Though kombucha makes a great alcohol-free alternative on its own, why not impress your guests this festive season with a delicious and healthy kombucha punch?
The tangy flavour of kombucha works particularly well in traditional punch recipes that require a sour element, and it’s a good alternative to many sweet punches that call for unhealthy synthetic ingredients such as soda and syrup juices.
Citrus kombucha is a delectable match with other warming festive flavours such as vanilla, ginger or cinnamon, and garnished with sliced oranges, cranberries and mint for a Christmas party punch so good you’ll want to serve it all year round!
If you want to spice up your roast this Christmas, long brewed kombucha makes a surprisingly good marinade due to its acidity.
Acid works well to tenderise and add flavour to a variety of meats such as steak, chicken or lamb, and seafood like scallops or shrimp. It even works with tofu, and will give your marinade a delicious, piquant tang. Try marinading lamb with kombucha, garlic and rosemary, or serving kombucha-marinated pork with cream and tarragon for an exquisitely indulgent dish.
Because of its tart flavour, kombucha makes a particularly good replacement for vinaigrettes too, and can be used as a replacement for dressings such as balsamic, or even as a base for reductions like beurre blanc.
Alcohol-free Christmas hampers
It’s the season for giving, and for those trying to watch their alcohol intake this Christmas, what better gift than a bespoke hamper packed with kombucha and other artisanal treats?
Kombucha is a fantastic healthy, alcohol-free replacement for the beers and bubbly usually found in hampers, and pairs perfectly with a variety of festive snacks. Try stuffing your hamper with charcuterie meats like salami, coppa or saucisson sec, olives, and fermented kimchi for a delicious and guilt-free gift.
Once the New Year rolls round, gift-receivers can be tempted to throw away the traditional hamper inclusions of wine and beer in a bid to stick to their New Year’s resolutions. By including Kombucha in your hampers, you are not only offering them a healthy drink that fits their 2022 goals, but you’re also preventing waste that is all too common post-Christmas.
Whatever you decide to do with your kombucha this Christmas, it is guaranteed to add an extra sparkle to your festive season.