Hard kombucha might actually be a healthier choice
Kombucha is an ancient and healthy beverage
Kombucha can improve your immune system and your digestion
Hard kombucha is a much healthier choice than beer, wine, or mixed drinks
Kombucha is sweeping the world with its health benefits, delicious flavor, and all-around hipster goodness. But new research suggests that you could be getting even more nutrition from your booch treat: make it hard.
What is kombucha?
Contrary to popular belief, kombucha is not the invention of bored twenty-somethings looking to spice up their drinking. The beverage has actually been around for over 2,000 years, and it has been primarily used as a magic healing potion. (Okay, so it might not be magic, but some of its health-promoting properties certainly make it feel magical.)
The beverage has been around for over 2,000 years
The kombucha-making process, however, is a little less sparkly. It is a tea with fermented sugar: The mixture has to sit for a couple of weeks to reach its tangy and carbonated fermented peak. Love it or hate it, kombucha is filled with delicious bacteria and probiotics that might revolutionize your immune system and improve your digestion.
What are the differences between normal kombucha and hard kombucha?
If immune and digestive benefits weren’t enough, hard kombucha brings even more health-goodness to the game — and it’s easy to make. Because kombucha is fermented, all of it technically has trace amounts of alcohol. However, to boost the booze in your booch, it is possible to add a second round of fermentation. Simply add more sugar and some yeast after your first couple of fermenting weeks, let the mixture continue fermenting for 10-12 days, and poof! Hard kombucha (up to 7% ABV!).
But what makes hard kombucha any healthier than normal, low-alcohol-content booch? First off, hard kombucha is certainly more healthy than its alcoholic alternatives: One glass of red wine, for example, holds 250 calories, 2 grams of sugar, and 8 carbohydrates. A similarly sized glass of flavored hard kombucha? 159 calories and 8.5 fruit-based sugars/carbs.
Not only is hard kombucha healthier than beers, wines, and sugary mixed drinks, its very own health benefits might cancel out any traditional alcohol-based liver damage. The antioxidants in kombucha protect the liver from toxins, so even though you’re drinking boozy booch, you won’t be damaging your body. That’s living the dream!
On the other hand, hard kombucha doesn’t have the same levels of probiotics as its alcohol-free shelf mates. However, experts say that’s okay. Ginger Hultin, dietitian and nutritionist, says that there hasn’t been enough research done to prove that probiotics really provide that many health benefits. And even without the probiotics, there are plenty of other health reasons to enjoy your hard kombucha.
Where can you get hard kombucha?
Even if you’re new to the craft ‘bucha game, it’s easier than ever to get involved. Not only can you brew your own kombucha at home, but you can also buy it premade from an increasingly long list of hard kombucha companies (JuneShine, BoochCraft, etc.). Beer companies all over the world are starting to try their hands at hard kombucha, like Full Sail Brewing Company and Boston Beer, owner of Sam Adams, so you won’t have to look long to find your new fave.
Long story short: Standard kombucha is healthy, easy to make, and delicious; hard kombucha ups the game. You can keep the same healthy bacterias and yeasts while getting a bit of a booch buzz: delicious.
A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101
Kombucha isn’t the only way to keep your stomach healthy. You might soon be able to treat your gut ailments with pills, too.
Not everyone is in love with kombucha. Before you add gallons of it to your daily routine, check out some other perspectives.