Have you ever tried kombucha tea? This fermented, bacteria-rich sour drink boasts all kinds of health benefits. It used to be a hippie drink of the past and is now widespread in restaurants and cafés all over the world, with many people even brewing their own batches at home.
Since going vegan (and not being the healthiest vegan!) I’ve found it necessary to get into this whole “probiotics thing” to make sure I’m getting enough healthy bacteria in my body and promoting digestion. I never was really into the taste of kombucha, until I tried a local Hong Kong brand called Taboocha. I fell in love with their ginger and jasmine flavours, and became an avid consumer of theirs, drinking several glasses of kombucha a week.
I was excited to see that a local organic foods store, SpiceBox Organics, was offering a kombucha cocktail workshop, so I jumped at the chance to make “healthy cocktails”! SpiceBox Organics stocks a variety of vegan products and offers many vegan cooking classes and workshops. I was excited to check out one of their workshops for the first time.
When we arrived, there was a giant spread of vegan snacks. Lisa and Patricia introduced themselves to us, and we learned so much about these sisters, who left their corporate jobs in fast-paced Hong Kong to start their own kombucha brand. They explained the struggles of starting a business and introducing kombucha to Hong Kongers.
These women were bubbly, passionate, and very personable. Lisa is vegan, and both shared their love for dogs with the group. They named their company after their dog, Taboo, and told us that each empty bottle of kombucha returned to them for recycling is a small donation to a local dog charity. WIN!
We made two different cocktails in the workshop. The first was Grapefruit Elderflower Gin Cocktail and the second was The Swedish Tart. We also experimented with different cocktail ingredients, such as fresh watermelon, basil leaves, and passion fruit liqueur, to come up with our own drinks too.
Health nuts might not approve of mixing kombucha in a cocktail, but I think it’s a wonderful idea. As Lisa and Patricia explained, their kombucha is brewed with organic Chinese tea and flavoured with local organic ingredients and raw sugar. They use no preservatives or additives in their products. This makes for an incredible mixer with alcohol, with fewer calories and less sugar. Kombucha itself is slightly carbonated, tart, and sweet, which really pairs well with any alcohol. If you add fresh herbs, fruits, or juices, the possibilities are endless!
The best part of the workshop, besides the delicious food, was getting up behind the bar and (unsuccessfully) mixing the cocktails with a martini shaker. It really was fun to experiment with different fresh ingredients and share the concoctions with the rest of the group.
I’m now an even bigger fan of Taboocha, and kombucha in general. If you’re in Hong Kong, I highly recommend trying Taboocha and supporting this fantastic local vegan business run by two wonderful women.