Get Your Bubbly Fix During Dry January With These Kombuchas
Welcome to our food series called Eat It Up, where we share the kitchen gadgets and foods that we can’t cook without.
If you’re feeling hungover from sugary party punch, thickly frosted Christmas cookies, and basically the entire month of December, here’s a fabulous reset idea: dry January. While 31 days without alcohol sounds radical, it’s an effective way to stay hydrated, sleep better, and master the art of the mocktail in the first month of the new year. We suggest coping with kombucha, a happy-hour-worthy beverage you can proudly drink before 5pm. The gut-healthy fermented tea in a wide variety of flavors has boomed in popularity over the last few years. So how do you decide which kombucha is right for you?
As with most health foods, it’s best to read the label first. “In the grocery store, make sure you look for a low sugar per serving amount and always read the ingredient list,” suggests Brew Dr. founder and CEO Matt Thomas. “If you see any additives, natural flavors, or the like, you’re likely buying a product that cuts corners in order to make claims.” He explains that sugar is a necessary part of the kombucha fermentation process, but some flavored brews have added fruit juice, which equals added sugar. And if you’re looking for a kombucha that’s as raw and pure as possible, keep an eye out for those that add lab-grown probiotics. Read on for four of our favorite widely available kombucha brands, so you can find the best fit for your nutrition goals and flavor preferences.
GT’s Living Foods ($4 per bottle) is the OG of store-bought kombucha, and their 30 flavors of booch are top sellers for a reason. Whether you’re new to kombucha or are a diehard consumer of fermented tea, GT is a dependable brand for fizzy, well balanced, and robustly flavored brews. Our favorites: Trilogy (a blend of lemon, raspberry, and ginger that is strong on its own or in a kombucha mocktail), Strawberry Serenity (a sweeter brew flavored with strawberry purée), and Gingerade (a just-spicy-enough elixir that will knock you right out of a mid-afternoon funk).
smooth & unique
If you prefer your fizziness on the softer side, Brew Dr. ($3 per bottle) makes the booch for you. The brand’s dozen interesting flavors are bubbly, but not overly so. They also have positive, peaceful names (like “Uplift” and “Happiness”) and are usually flavored with herbs, roots, and spices instead of juice, so they’re subtle in sweetness and low in sugar. Try their green tea-based classic, Clear Mind, for a floral flavor from rosemary, mint, and dandelion root, or grab Spiced Apple for a cozy treat that tastes like apple pie filling. Keep an eye on their website for ever-changing seasonal flavors.
With flavors like cayenne cleanse and beet-lime, Health-Ade ($4 per bottle) uses ingredients that pack a serious punch (Stay away from ginger-lemon unless you’re ready for some fire!). The creative, small-batch blends are made with cold-pressed organic juice, and no flavor exceeds seven grams of sugar per serving. If you are abstaining from alcohol this month, you’ll find no shortage of Health-Ade options to quell your temptations. California Grape is our favorite substitute for a light and summery white-wine sangria, while Jalapeño-Kiwi-Cucumber has a mighty convincing spicy margarita vibe.
sweet and juicy
Sweet and fruity, Humm ($3 per bottle) is for the juice lover who’s still coming around to kombucha’s vinegary taste. Most Humm flavors incorporate organic fruit juice, so each sip has a sweeter, less fermented taste than the average kombucha (but this also means more sugar). Try Lemon Ginger for a brew that tastes like lemonade with a smidge of fizzy ginger, or grab Blueberry Mint for the closest thing to a blueberry muffin in kombucha form. We’re also really into the Grapefruit Hops and Raspberry Hops for a very convincing beer substitute that’s like a cross between Hefeweizen and IPA.
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(Photos via Brew Dr., GT’s Living Foods, Health-Ade, and Humm)