Recipe: Spicy Kombucha Bloody Mary

Recipe: Spicy Kombucha Bloody Mary

Jessie Shafer
Apr 8, 2016
(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

What's cool? Bloody Marys with brunch. What's cooler than being cool? Bloody Marys with kombucha. Time to give this classic brunch cocktail a fizzy, gut-healthy update.

Kombucha is fermented tea made simply from water, sugar, dried tea leaves, and a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). The SCOBY, also referred to as "the mother" or "mushroom," is an alien-looking, flesh-like living thing that technically feeds off of the sugar and makes the fermentation happen, resulting in a tangy, fizzy beverage that contains loads of probiotics (gut-friendly bacteria).

So, since Bloody Marys are clearly the healthiest option you could pick in a cocktail (hey, it has veggies in it!), it makes sense to sip away any last bit of guilt by upping the health ante with some probiotics. Kombucha isn't overly sweet and most commercial brands contain about four to 12 grams of sugars per eight ounces, which is far less than you'd get in an equal amount of soda or juice. However, it is slightly sweet, and because sweet isn't the flavor profile you're typically going for with a Bloody Mary, be sure to use the ratio of one part vodka to one-and-a-half parts kombucha to two parts tomato juice.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Now that the technical part is over, it's time to get really cool. Everyone knows the true purpose of a Bloody Mary is to be a vessel for snacks. You can't go wrong with the addition of a crunchy dill pickle spear, gherkins, and other pickled veggies (these are fermented foods, too); classic green or black olives; or a pretty celery stalk. You can stop right there or keep going with pepperoni or beef sticks, crispy bacon, speared tiny heirloom tomatoes, pickled okra, pepperoncini or mini sweet peppers, or cooked shrimp. And if you really want to traverse into wild territory, I've heard some brunch joints are "garnishing" their Bloody Marys with hoagie sandwiches, mini sliders, tater tots, meatballs, slices of pizza, or pieces of fried chicken.

I mean, that's cool and all, but none — to my knowledge — are stirring kombucha into their Bloody Marys. So take that, hipster brunch place.

Spicy Kombucha Bloody Mary

Serves 1 (makes 1 pint)

For the cocktail:
Chili powder
1/2 lime
Ice cubes
2 ounces vodka
3 ounces kombucha, unflavored or ginger-lemon flavor
4 ounces tomato juice
1 to 2 teaspoons bottled grated fresh horseradish
2 to 4 dashes Tabasco or other hot sauce

2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

For the garnishes:
Celery stalk with leaves attached
Beef stick
Dill pickle spear or gherkins
Pickled vegetables, such as green beans and carrot sticks
Green olives

Rim the glass: Sprinkle lemon-pepper onto a small plate. Add a few dashes of chili powder and mix together. Spread the spice mix in a circle on the plate about the same size as the rim of your pint glass, Mason jar, or other 16-ounce glassware. Cut the 1/2 lime into three wedges. Rub one lime wedge around the rim of the glass and dip glass into the spice mixture until the edge is lightly coated. Set glass aside.

Make the Bloody Mary: Fill a cocktail shaker or other large glass about 1/3 full with ice cubes. Squeeze the two remaining lime wedges into the shaker. Add vodka, kombucha (it will fizz), tomato juice, horseradish, hot sauce, Worcestershire, and additional dashes of lemon-pepper and chili powder to taste; stir with a spoon until mixed.

Add the garnishes: Carefully pour Bloody Mary into prepared glass without disturbing the rim. Add ice until glass is full to within 1 to 2 inches of the top. Add desired garnishes and enjoy.

Recipe Notes

  • It seems like there's a new brand of kombucha on store shelves every week. Use your favorite in this recipe. Most brands have a lemon or ginger (or lemon-ginger) flavor, which works nicely in this Bloody Mary. I used Health-Ade Kombucha's Ginger-Lemon.
  • Stirred, not shaken: Avoid the urge to shake this cocktail and just stir it instead. Shaking will cause the carbonation from the kombucha to bubble and make your Bloody too fizzy.
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