The Dish

Dallas dish of the week: Wild Tonic Kombucha drink with alcohol

Dallas dish of the week: Wild Tonic Kombucha drink with alcohol

Wild tonic Kombucha
There's something about this photo. I can't quite put my finger on it. Wild Tonic

Editor's note: Every week, we'll spotlight a culinary treat found around Dallas-Fort Worth — whether it's a new opening, a dish at a restaurant, or a grocery find.

Dish: Wild Tonic alcoholic kombucha
Location: Sprouts grocery, Henderson Avenue

Kombucha is the popular beverage that people drink for a variety of so-called health reasons. Fizzy and tangy, it's a fermented drink with probiotics. Probiotics and fermented things are thought to help combat intestinal issues, which everyone seems to have these days.

Sales of kombucha and other fermented beverages in the U.S. climbed 37.4 percent — to $556 million — in 2017, according to foodnavigator-usa.

But in the past year, a new hot variation of kombucha has emerged: one that also gets you tipsy, with a higher percentage of alcohol — up to 7 percent. That puts its inebriation properties on the same level as beer.

There are a few companies doing it, including Wild Tonic, an Arizona-based company that has been making regular kombucha since 2015. They debuted their alcoholic line in 2017.

Wild Tonic's kombucha is "jun kombucha," meaning that it is made with honey instead of sugar. Part of the company's convoluted manifesto is that they care about bees. But if you cared about bees, wouldn't you leave their honey alone?

They have three flavors with 7.6 percent alcohol and five flavors with 5.6 percent alcohol, including Tropical Turmeric, the one that was available at Sprouts on Henderson Avenue.

They're also known for their signature cobalt blue bottle, which is pretty. Each bottle has 16 ounces, which is considered two servings.

I occasionally drink kombucha, usually as a splash to perk up a glass of regular water. I also drink beer and wine, so ostensibly, I would seem to be right square in the market for this stuff.

Also, this product was described as the "Champagne of Kombuchas." I love Champagne.

This is no Champagne.

It's a pale golden color with a very light fizz. If you were going to liken it to anything, the most accurate comparison would be malt liquor. That is seriously what it tasted like: bland, malty, mildly sweet. What a dumb waste of a buzz.

The manufacturers of this stuff are selling it as a beneficial drink with some perks. One of the founders of a competing brand, Boochcraft (what a dopey name), was quoted saying that "if you're going to drink alcohol, you might as well pair it with probiotics, organic acids, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals."

But probiotics are delicate and don't take well to high levels of alcohol. So if you're drinking alcoholic kombucha under the guise of it being healthy, you're probably wasting your time.

Why anyone would drink this, when they could be drinking a flavorful sour beer or an interesting wine, is a complete mystery.