3 Delicious Places to Try Kombucha Around Town (Even If You're Not a Health-Food Nut)
The trending craft beer and pickles that can pin their existence to some form of fermentation have become mainstays of restaurant menus. And now their sweet-tart relative, a fermented, probiotic tea called kombucha (tea+sugar+bacteria+yeast), is making inroads of its own—to the tune of $400 million in US sales last year. The drink is also slowly starting to shed its health-nut stigma at restaurants and bars around town: Its subtle carbonation and slightly tart character makes it perfect for flavorful experiments from cocktails to juices.
If you don’t see any kombucha listed on the drink menu, ask for it anyway. Chances are that Revel Kitchen (formerly Athlete Eats) will have one on tap. Because the staff flavors the brew with whatever leftover juices happens to be on hand when it’s fermenting, you’ll often find unexpected combinations like apple-jalapeno— making this a great place to sample kombucha’s versatility as a vehicle for flavors. 2837 Cherokee St., Cherokee Street, 314.932.5566.
Kombucha’s malleable flavor means its makers have quite a bit of control over the end product. And if their goal is a brew that enhances another ingredient—whiskey, for example— things get even more interesting. In Small Batch’s Kombucha Sour cocktail, Wild Turkey 101 is the ingredient in question, along with curacao, lemon and orgeat syrup. The result is a refreshing cocktail—garnished, fittingly, with a single pickled cherry. 3001 Locust St., Midtown, 314.380.2040.
LULU’S LOCAL EATERY
Every couple of weeks, William Pauley of Confluence Kombucha changes up the flavor he supplies for Lulu’s. Often it’s a fruit, but it could also be something nontraditional, like cinnamon. The staff is only too happy to chat about the brew, but to really get into the kombucha phenomenon, consider taking one of Pauley’s popular Dabble classes on fermentation. 3201 S. Grand Blvd., Tower Grove South 314.300.8215.
This story appeared in the August 2015 issue.