Kombucha Is My Secret to Making It Through Dry January

The 'booch is worth the buzz.

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January 18, 2019

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So you're nearly three weeks into Dry January. Congrats! You feel great but — dun, dun, dun — you have a fun weekend ahead full of socializing and with it, a whole lot of temptation to slip (or should I say “sip”) up. The key to holding strong: try a different brew.

That’s right — there’s no need to be a total party pooper when skipping on spirits. For years now, kombucha (the notorious cure-all health tonic made of fermented tea) has been my sober saving grace. For one, ‘booch can be perceived to fellow merrymakers as a sophisticated adult beverage. Better yet, it can also quench your thirst for that "something stronger.”

“Kombucha is a wonderful beverage alternative to help satisfy those ‘Dry January’ cravings,” says GT Dave, founder of GT’s Kombucha. “It offers a signature tangy bite, wonderful effervescent mouthfeel that encourage more of a sipping quality than the way one might mindlessly drink other beverages.”

Simply mix and mingle with your fave flavor in a highball or cocktail glass. Negative Nancies won’t be able to tell the difference! Longing for a Cosmo or Moscow Mule? Alcohol-free stand-ins like GT’s Cosmic Cranberry and Gingerade have half of the calories and can satisfy that craving. For those wanting a hard cider or beer: Brew Dr.’s Spiced Apple and Citrus Hops will kick hankerings to the curb for a fraction of the carbs.

So what about replacing wine, beer and other spirits in your favorite dishes to keep you on the dry January straight and narrow? Chefs are finding that kombucha works as a low- to no-alcohol solution.

Kombucha can be a substitute for alcohol in your favorite marinades, sauces and even as a meat tenderizer. For example, Skyroom’s Executive Chef Johnny Ulloa loves taking advantage of the beverage’s high fermentation content to add volume and enhance flavor profiles in Latin and Asian dishes.

“Kombucha goes well with sweet and tart flavor and is excellent when infused with fruits (like cherries, tamarind and apples) and with chicken, beef and seafood,” says Ulloa. “It is also cheaper than liquor.”

If you want to hang into the integrity of the of the fermented tea, keep things raw with salad dressings, salsas, smoothies and pickling. “Boiling temperatures removes the live and active cultures that are a key benefit of authentic, raw kombucha,” says Matt Thomas, CEO and Founder of Brew Dr. Kombucha.

Chef Jeff Williams, the Executive Chef at The Press Room, appreciates how effective he is in the kitchen when incorporating the fizzy ingredient. "I like to use homemade ginger kombucha in place of white wine to deglaze a pan quickly when preparing mussels or other shellfish,” he says. "Wine and beer take longer to cook off so the kombucha allows me to retain that ginger flavor without overcooking the delicate shellfish.”

Need I say more? Keep your booze-free commitment going and twist off a top of 'booch instead. Cheers!

Lauren Seib is a pug mom, personal trainer, online coach and group fitness instructor based in Stamford, Conn. Her credentials include NASM CPT, Spinning(R), RYT 200 and Barre by exhale.

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