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Home > Healthy Living > Hard Kombucha: A Refreshing Twist on a Fermented Favorite

Hard Kombucha: A Refreshing Twist on a Fermented Favorite

Calling all health-conscious beverage aficionados! Hard kombucha is here to tantalise your taste buds and offer a unique, potentially gut-friendly alternative to traditional alcoholic drinks.

But what exactly is hard kombucha?

Unlike its non-alcoholic counterpart, hard kombucha packs a subtle punch of alcohol, typically ranging from 4% to 7% ABV, similar to beer. Some variations can even reach higher levels, comparable to wine. This moderate alcohol content makes it a lighter option for those seeking a more balanced and refreshing drinking experience.

Potential Benefits of Hard Kombucha

Hard kombucha may be full of benefits from its fermentation process and probiotic-rich SCOBY. It offers probiotics that support gut health, aiding digestion and potentially boosting immune function. Additionally, its antioxidant content, notably polyphenols, may protect against oxidative stress and inflammation, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases. With its lower alcohol content compared to other alcoholic beverages and often reduced sugar content, hard kombucha can be a healthier alternative for those looking to indulge without excess. However, moderation is key, and individual responses may vary, so it’s essential to consume it responsibly and consider personal health factors.

There are two ways to make hard kombucha.

1. Crafted Hard Kombucha

Crafted hard kombucha follows a similar fermentation process to traditional kombucha up until a certain point. It begins with the usual tea fermentation process involving a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). However, at a later phase of fermentation, additional non-native yeast strains are introduced to the mixture. These added yeast strains are selected for their ability to produce higher alcohol content, thus elevating the alcohol level beyond what is typically achieved in traditional kombucha. This method allows for a more controlled approach to increasing alcohol content while maintaining distinct kombucha flavours and characteristics.
1st Fermentation (6-10 days): Black or green tea, sugar, and the SCOBY are combined to create the foundation of kombucha. During this stage, the SCOBY feeds on sugar, producing organic acids, beneficial bacteria (probiotics), and a slightly tart flavour.
2nd Fermentation (7-14 days): This stage introduces additional yeast and sugar, specifically chosen to create alcohol. Yeast can be obtained from all specialized stores for viticulture. The SCOBY and the newly added yeast work together to convert the sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide, resulting in the characteristic fizz and a slight increase in alcohol content.
3rd Fermentation (optional, 3-10 days): This final step allows for the addition of fruits, spices, or other flavourings to personalize the taste profile. It can also be used to further increase carbonation for an even bubblier drink.

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2. Spiked Hard Kombucha

Spiked hard kombucha takes a different route to achieve higher alcohol content. Rather than relying solely on fermentation to produce alcohol, this method involves directly adding alcohol to the kombucha base. The alcohol can be sourced from various higher-alcohol-containing beverages such as beer, cider, wine, spirits, or even distilled alcohol. This approach allows for precise control over the alcohol content and enables experimentation with different flavour profiles by blending kombucha with various alcoholic beverages. Spiked hard kombucha is akin to creating a cocktail using kombucha as a base ingredient, hence the alternative term “Kombucha Cocktail.”

What Does Hard Kombucha Taste Like?

Hard kombucha offers a lighter twist on traditional drinks, boasting a unique blend of sweet, sour, and tangy notes with a subtle alcoholic kick. But its true benefit is in diversity. Brewers use different methods and ingredients to create a spectrum of flavours, from fruity and floral to earthy and herbaceous. This versatility makes it an exciting choice.
Hard kombucha combines ancient fermentation with modern brewing techniques, resulting in a beverage catering to both health-conscious and adventurous consumers. Its moderate alcohol content, potential health benefits, and diverse flavours have carved a space for it in the ever-evolving world of fermented drinks. So, if you’re looking for something new and exciting, raise a glass to hard kombucha!

A simple recipe for hard kombucha

In the first phase, prepare basic kombucha.

For a litre of kombucha, steep 2 tea bags (2 tsp leaves) in 900 ml water. Add 50g sugar, let cool. Combine with 100 ml kombucha starter or SCOBY and 100 ml from the previous batch. Ferment for 7-14 days.

In the second phase add yeast and sugar.

Dissolve 50g sugar in 75ml warm water. Cool, add 10g champagne yeast to a gallon of kombucha. Ferment 7-14 days.

In the third phase adjust the taste with fruit juices.

Bottle, leave space. Carbonate for 24-48 hours, refrigerate. Enjoy fizzy kombucha!

Kombucha cocktails ideas

Kombucha Rum Punch

  • 240 ml hard kombucha (flavour of your choice)
  • 45 ml rum (light or dark)
  • 30 ml pineapple juice
  • 15 ml lime juice

Mix hard kombucha, rum, pineapple juice, lime juice and ice cubes. Strain the mixture into a glass filled with ice. Serve and enjoy your refreshing kombucha rum punch!

Kombucha Espresso Martini


  • 45 ml vodka
  • 30 ml coffee liqueur
  • 30 ml freshly brewed espresso
  • 30 ml coffee hard kombucha (add coffee in 3rd fermentation)
  • Ice cubes

Brew a shot of coffee and let it cool to room temperature. Mix vodka, coffee liqueur, hard kombucha and cooled coffee to the shaker. Optionally, garnish with a few coffee beans on top. Serve and enjoy your unique twist on the classic Espresso Martini!

Kombucha Margarita

  • 60 ml tequila
  • 30 ml lime juice
  • 30 ml orange liqueur
  • 30 ml hard kombucha
  • Salt for rimming
  • Ice cubes

If desired, rim the edge of a glass with salt by running a lime wedge around the rim and dipping it into salt. Fill the glass with ice cubes. Combine tequila, lime juice, hard kombucha, ice cubes and orange liqueur in a shaker. Serve and enjoy your refreshing Kombucha Margarita!

Kombucha Aperol Spritz

  • 60 ml Aperol
  • 60 ml citrus-flavoured hard kombucha (add citruses of your choice-3rd fermentation)
  • 30 ml sparkling water or soda water
  • Orange slice for garnish
  • Ice cubes


  • Fill a wine glass with ice cubes. Pour Aperol into the glass. Top with citrus-flavoured hard kombucha. Add sparkling water or soda water to the glass. Stir gently to combine. Garnish with an orange slice. Serve and enjoy your refreshing Kombucha Aperol Spritz!

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