Draft Kombucha Finally Comes to Alaska
Kombucha on tap is fairly ubiquitous outside of Alaska. For some, this effervescent fermented tea drink has an unbearable vinegar taste when sipped from commercially produced bottles like GT’s Synergy -- the most readily available kombucha on the market. Yet, even for the biggest kombucha naysayer, draft kombucha can offer an entirely different – even enjoyable – drinking experience. When on draft, the process from vat to glass can better be controlled through limiting temperature fluctuations that often occur when bottles are shipped and then sit around a store. More control of the process tends to lead to a milder product that highlights kombucha’s tart undertones rather than the sometimes hard to swallow prominent vinegar flavor.
Linda and Jessie Janes, half of the team that founded Zip Kombucha about six months ago, not only saw an opportunity in the lack of on tap kombucha in Alaska, but also knew that they could create a fresher, more affordable product than what is available in our local grocery stores. Translating home beer brewing skills to kombucha making, the Janes began experimenting with kombucha recipes three years ago. Citing the health benefits of kombucha that range from it being a probiotic beverage that can heal the gut to kombucha as a low sugar alternative to soda (note: no research studies have been able to confirm any health claims of kombucha enthusiasts). Linda and Jessie now are trying to gauge if kombucha is even on the palette of Alaska consumers and how it might be used not only as a standalone beverage, but even as an ingredient added to cocktails.
Their company name, Zip Kombucha, comes from the concept that “zip codes” are inherently local and eventually they hope to customize their flavor offerings to the neighborhood level. For now, there are four flavors available: Plain Jane (a basic recipe of black tea), Bluberry Mary (a subtle blueberry favor added to the classic), Maleena Mint (mint tones that one smells before drinking), and Ginger Rogers (a hint of ginger that tingles your throat as you drink). The organic black tea that serves as the base of all four types is sourced from Washington state and the flavor additions, such as the blueberry and ginger, are all organic and commercially purchased. Linda and Jessie still are looking for local sources of these products, but procuring a consistent and large enough supply of these ingredients has been a challenge for them.
Zip Kombucha currently is available on draft at Organic Oasis restaurant in Anchorage as well as locally for pick-up, but their hope is to eventually have a tap room in Anchorage and to distribute to the rest of the state. In order to grow their business, Zip Kombucha is running a Kickstarter Campaign until June 5th to raise money to purchase kegs, additional refrigeration, and mobile coolers. Campaign donors receive a range of kombucha products for their pledges. If you do get a chance to try a Zip Kombucha, try the Maleena Mint. It’s a good entrée to kombucha since it tastes like a fizzy iced semi-sweet Moroccan mint tea
RECIPE: Ziptini Framboise
2.5 oz of Plain Jane Kombucha
1 oz of gin
Hand full of Alaskan raspberries
1 oz of bubbly
Blend Gin and raspberries
Add blended mix to shaker along with Kombucha, bubbly and ice
Serve in a martini glass with a sugar rim
Recipe courtesy of Zip Kombucha. For additional kombucha cocktail recipes check out the Zip Kombucha website.