Author Notes: I looooove making fermented fizzy drinks. It's so satisfying to make carbonation all by yourself, without the aid of one of those counter-space hogging carbonation machines! Well, I guess it's not all by yourself - the bacteria does some work too. The fizziness is subtler than store-bought seltzer or kombucha, but still hauntingly delicious and very refreshing.
The sorbet recipe is adapted from David Lebovitz's Perfect Scoop.
Also, if you want to experience this without waiting two weeks for your kombucha to be ready, and without churning your own sorbet, feel free to substitute store-bought kombucha and plain blackberry sorbet garnished with fresh mint and lime wedges. —linzarella
english breakfast tea bags
cup store-bought kombucha, any brand
kombucha starter (find it on craigslist or from a hippie friend)
blackberry lime mint sorbet
cups blackberries, fresh or frozen
cup fresh-squeezed lime juice, from about 9 limes
cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
- Two weeks before your soda fountain craving hits, start your kombucha. In a large pot, bring 12 cups of water to a boil. Take off the heat, and pour into a large glass bowl, and add the tea bags and sugar. Let cool to room temperature.
- When cool, add the store-bought kombucha to the glass bowl. Lay the kombucha starter on the surface of the liquid. Make an "x" over the bowl with masking tape, then cover the bowl with a clean towel (the masking tape prevents the towel from falling into the liquid).
- Put the bowl of kombucha in a warm place where it won't be disturbed. If your house is particularly cold, by one of those cheap therapeutic heating pads from the drugstore and set the bowl atop it.
- The kombucha is ready to be bottled when it tastes pleasantly sour and not super sweet. Start tasting it after ten days. Depending on how warm your house is, it will probably be ready after 10-14 days. But the beauty of making it yourself is that there is no definitive "ready" - it's ready when it tastes good to you.
- Now it's time to bottle it. A funnel makes this process easier. Using a glass measuring cup (kombucha is corrosive and shouldn't come into contact with metal), pour it into several glass bottles, leaving very little air space at the top. I like to use glass beer bottles that can be purchased cheaply by the case from a brewery supply store. You can also buy re-usable air-tight seal tops for the bottles. But re-used empty glass kombucha bottles work fine too. Whatever your method, seal the bottles tightly, and leave them at room temperature for another 5-7 days, where they will undergo anaerobic fermentation and build up carbonation. After that, transfer them to the fridge.
- Now make your sorbet. In a small pot, bring water and sugar to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Let cool.
- Puree the blackberries and mint with the sugar-water. If you want to be fussy, press the mixture through a strainer to remove the seeds, but I'm lazy and I never do this. Stir in the lime juice.
- Chill the mixture in the fridge until it's completely cold. Then freeze in your ice-cream maker.
- To serve, pour kombucha into tall glasses, top with a scoop of ice cream, and garnish with a couple mint sprigs and a twist of lime.