There are those people who, when they say to you “hey, this one thing I randomly came across is pretty great, you should check it out”, you are 100% confident that checking that thing out will lead to insights, new infatuations and with luck – cultivation of your own imagination. Seek those people out, treasure them. They will lead you to gold.
I realize that I just described basic networking like it’s a holy grail, but the simple act of nurturing relationships and making an effort to understand people has thrown me in the path of some of the most amazing, talented and passionate people. I’d call it kismet, but it’s more intentional.
That’s how I met Amy from BSide Booch at our beloved local distillery Bull Run last week. Amy’s nano crafted, organic, locally sourced, raw kombucha is completely made to order and delivered. It’s never off the shelf, and that’s exactly the way this owner wants it to be. This will never be a commodity product. That allows Amy the freedom to make exactly what she wants to make – and the result is an affirmation for commitment to quality.
I’ve made tea cocktails in the past, with mixed results – mostly because the sheer volume of water in the tea dilutes a drink. Duh. But B Side’s kombuchas are full and rounded, making them easy to build a cocktail around. They’re like what you would get if a tea and a well-mannered shrub had a baby. A complex baby, with multiple layers of flavor.
The first flavor I played with was Apple with Garden Herb. I made one simple drink – a variant of a Bees Knees called BeeSide, and one more complex called Sweet Apple Blossom.
- 1.5 oz Old Tom Gin (I used Ransom)
- .75 oz fresh lemon juice
- .5 oz thyme honey syrup (a 1:1 syrup made by heating 1/4 c water, adding 1/4 c honey – remove from heat and infuse 2 sprigs of thyme for 20 minutes, strain & bottle)
- 3 oz Apple Herb kombucha
Shake first three ingredients with ice, add kombucha after thoroughly shaken to keep it fizzy. Strain into a cocktail glass over a giant ice cube and garnish with lemon zest and a thyme sprig.
Sweet Apple Blossom
- 1 oz white rum
- 1 oz Apple Jack
- .75 oz fresh lime
- .5 oz calvados
- .25 oz amaretto
- Dash of lavender bitters
- Dash of 20% saline solution
Shake everything but the kombucha with ice, add kombucha after thoroughly shaken to keep it fizzy. Strain into a highball glass over a large ice cubes and garnish with a lime wheel and sprig of mint.
The next flavor I worked with is kind of a one-off, and an example of the magic that can happen when you minimize limitations; they call it BRD Beet (because of the collaboration with Bull Run). I took the same approach, and made a simple Negroni riff, Rosa Negroni, and a more complex cocktail, the Apocalipstick.
- 1.5 oz London dry gin
- .75 oz Campari
- .75 oz fresh lemon juice
- 3 oz BSIDE BOOCH BRD Beet kombucha
Shake first three ingredients with ice, add kombucha after thoroughly shaken to keep it fizzy. Strain into a rocks glass over a giant ice cube and garnish with lemon zest and a rose bud.
- 1 oz Bull Run Distillery rye
- 1 oz cognac
- .5 oz Regning Dag aquavit
- .5 oz fresh lemon juice
- 2 dashes aromatic bitters
- 1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
- 1 dash simple syrup
- 1 dash 20% saline solution
- 3 oz BSIDE BOOCH BRD Beet Kombucha
Shake everything but kombucha with ice, add kombucha after thoroughly shaken to keep it fizzy. Strain into a rocks glass over a giant ice cube and garnish with lemon zest and a star anise pod.
Off to defy expectations by removing limitations. Maybe I’ll start by having that engraved onto a desk plaque.