Kombucha Cocktails Across the Country

Kombucha drinks at Shed Healdsburg.

Kombucha drinks at Shed Healdsburg.

Like kale, kombucha has hit maximum mainstream. Funky-hued bottles of the probiotic fermented tea line shelves at Whole Foods, and even fine dining restaurants are getting into the game of making custom blends.

But what, exactly, is kombucha? The bubbly beverage begins with a mother starter known as "scoby," which stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. Similar to the way a bread starter feeds off flour, kombucha culture needs nutrients to survive, such as nitrogen, tannins and polyphenols. Sugar, too. Many of these compounds occur naturally in  camellia sinensis, the tea plant. To brew kombucha, basically one adds the scoby to sweetened tea. Total fermentation time can be anywhere from ten days to three weeks or longer.

Though kombucha has long been considered a drink for heath, with fans pointing out its antioxidant and probiotic benefits, that's not stopping restaurants and bars from spiking the brew with booze. Below, nine bars that are getting creative with kombucha.

Read the list, originally published for Eater.