Fermented Drinks That Taste Amazing
Fermented drinks can get a bad rap for putting flavor on the backburner, but it’s totally not true. We believe that even if something is fermented, it should still be delicious. Fermented drinks come in many different shapes and sizes, and can have all kinds of ingredients. From pineapple skins to coconut water, the base for a fermented drink can do wonders when adding to its delicious flavor.
Before we get into a few delicious fermented drinks, let’s get a handle on what it means for something to be fermented.
What Is Fermentation?
To make this as simple as possible, we’re going to put fermentation into terms that don’t have all of that sciencey mumbo jumbo weighing it down.
Fermentation refers to taking a complex compound and breaking it down into its smaller component parts. Feed whatever our fermenting the right mixture—for instance, water and sugar—and it’ll start to break down and ferment. Occasionally, a SCOBY, or a symbiotic culture of yeast and bacteria, is added.
That is not always the case, though. You need SCOBY for kombucha, but tepache, for instance, ferments all on its own just through the jarring and addition of water to the pineapple rinds. Self-sufficient fermentation, much?
Fermentation is a natural process that repurposes food that may otherwise go to waste and works it into a new and delicious new product. Instead of certain food or drinks aging and going bad then just ending up in the dumpster, fermentation gives life back!
Now that we have a handle on what fermentation is, let's jump into all of the tasty drinks that exist as a result of that magic process.
Tepache is a traditional fermented Mexican beverage. It was historically sold by street vendors and symbolized camaraderie and togetherness. There are many different variations of tepache, and its history is as nuanced and interesting as its delicious flavor.
Tepache is made in about a day through a simple fermentation process. It is naturally gluten-free, low in sugar, and does not require a SCOBY. The main ingredient in tepache is pineapple skins.
These skins are put in a large glass pitcher or container with sugar, water, and maybe some cinnamon and cloves for taste. Then, the mixture is then lightly covered, and the magic really happens. After about twenty-four hours, the brew should be complete.
The beautiful thing about tepache is all of the different flavors and forms it can take on. Plus, it tends to be a better-tasting alternative to some of the harsher flavors of options like kefir and kombucha. Tepache’s natural pineapple base is pairs well with flavors like ginger, mango, turmeric, and more.
Tepache is also both probiotic and prebiotic, so not only is it tasty, but it has great benefits for your health as well. If you are looking for fermented beverages that do not compromise on taste, tepache may be your new go-to.
Kombucha begins as a sugary tea. Its base can range from green tea to black tea or anything in between. Then, with the help of a SCOBY, the kombucha turns into a refreshing, fizzy, almost vinegar-like drink.
Kombucha comes in a wide array of flavors to match (or maybe not) your preferences. Many flavors include ginger or other herbs like rosemary or sage, but that’s not all.
Even so, there are many options for a fruitier flavor if you prefer. Flavors like mango, strawberry lemonade, or even different berry flavors may tickle your fancy. You can get all of the benefits of a fermented drink and introduce your palette to some different flavors at the same time.
Bosa or Bouza
Bosa is a traditional fermented drink. It has roots that extend all the way back to Mesopotamia. The way that Boza is made includes the fermentation of hulled millet, a quick-growing cereal grain.
The millet is boiled in water and then poured into a pan, the more shallow, the better. Then you wait for the mixture to cool. Once cooled, you strain the millet and add water and sugar to it. Many different cereals can be used for Bosa production, like wheat or rye.
Now the fun begins. Natural mixtures of yeasts and lactic acid bacteria kickstart the fermentation. Bosa has a sweet and tangy flavor that will have you glad you tried it out!
Kefir is made from fermented milk, whether that’s cow, goat, sheep, coconut, rice, soy. If you can name it, you can kefir it. It is smooth, creamy, and tangy, with hints of sweetness.
Kefir has a texture similar to thin yogurt. It is made using kefir grains, a specific type of mesophilic symbiotic culture. That is just another fancy word for a live culture that feeds your gut flora.
Kefir is widely available commercially, and it has a sweetness and gentle tang that will have you licking your lips in delight. However, a lot of commercial kefir is not dairy-free, which is something to keep in mind when you are looking for a fermented drink that does not include dairy.
All of the Benefits of Fermentation, No Compromise
These drinks are a total delight to the taste buds. They each have their own unique flavors as well as benefits. If you’re looking for a creamy yogurt-like beverage, kefir should be your go-to. Maybe you would rather have a lighter, more refreshing beverage? We can hear the tepache calling your name.
Most people hear “fermented” and think of sauerkraut, vinegar, and perhaps some less than lovely smells. But these drinks prove them wrong. These fermented beverages are delicious and great for a variety of occasions.
They’re also great options as you can make them all on your own. You don’t have to spend tons of cash on your fermented foods. Plus, a lot of these drinks qualify as upcycled products. They are made from things that may have otherwise gone to waste. This means that by enjoying a fermented beverage, you are doing a little bit of good for mother Earth.
No matter what kind of fermented drink you are looking to enjoy, never feel you have to compromise taste. From tepache to bosa, there is a treat in store when you reach for a delicious fermented drink. Enjoy them at any time, and be sure to savor the tastes while you do!
Fermentation | Merriam-Webster
SCOBY | Cambridge English Dictionary