“Survival kit: in case of emergency pull cork,” read the text of a reusable shopping bag on display, showcasing a bottle of wine.
I was finishing my holiday shopping when I noticed this bag. Actually, there were many items for sale that made light of or encouraged drinking as an acceptable way to escape or evade whatever it is we dread the most. Please understand, I know this is nothing new to our society, but at that moment, my thoughts were heavy.
As one year comes to a close and a new one begins, it calls for time to pause and reflect. Over the last few weeks, my reflections continued to lead me back to my relationship with alcohol.
So I leaned in and listened.
While much of my time is spent writing about people steeped in the world of tea, some of my life is spent in a bar where I’ve worked part-time for the last five years. Slowly, alcohol became the nucleus of every social event – even outside of my pub life.
I desperately needed some distance and perspective. Between September and October 2019, I spent about five weeks alcohol-free. During that time I realized I drank more than I wanted to admit.
It wasn’t an easy process by any means but I ended up taking kombucha with me to social events and substituting it at home when I would usually crave an alcoholic beverage. It’s truly a satisfying alternative with a similar mouth-feel to a beer or a glass of rosé – but please know this wonderfully fermented tea stands on its own and is much more than a “substitute” for anything.
When I saw that bag in the store, my first reaction was to smirk in agreement. Instead, I shook my head thinking about the five weeks I spent alcohol-free, knowing that there are healthier ways to deal with what life brings us and that there’s work to be done to shed more light on that.
Many people have a healthy relationship with alcohol and that’s my wish for you. But my point is, it’s okay not to drink or to figure out your relationship with alcohol. Maybe it’s not that complex for you. It is for me.
In honor of counteracting the promotion of alcoholic beverages this holiday season (like the bag I saw in the store), I wanted to share some kombucha mocktails with you.
Disclaimer: I’m no mixologist. Everything I used to create these beverages was inspired by the kombucha.
Three Fabulous Kombucha Mocktails:
Baba’s Brew – Local kombucha to the folks here in Chester County, PA but it can be found all over the tri-state area and prides itself on staying small.
- 12 oz Firebird Kombucha
- Ice (to taste)
- A few wedges of lime squeezed to taste
- For the rim: Cayenne pepper (one part), cinnamon (one part), brown sugar (two parts)
Inspired Brews – They’re truly “pouring their hearts into Philadelphia” through their dedication to bring real, seasonal ‘booch to the city of brotherly love.
- 12 oz Orange Hibiscus Kombucha
- Freshly squeezed orange (I used about a half of an orange)
- Ice (to taste)
- A splash of sparkling mineral water
- Rosemary for garnish
Health-Ade – Brewed in small, 2.5-gallon glass batches from Southern California.
- 12 oz Holiday Cheers Kombucha
- A few splashes of sparkling mineral water
- A splash of cranberry juice
- Cherries to taste- I bought them frozen and cut them into quarters
- Thyme for garnish
P.S. You don’t owe anyone an explanation if you choose not to drink. If you choose to, please drink responsibly. And if you need help, you’re not alone.
I hope you step into this new year with intention.