Kombucha cocktail with ginger, basil and black pepper

Source: Johannes Hõimoja

Kombucha cocktail with ginger, basil and black pepper

Recipe author:

Janno Lepik
Head chef
Leib Resto ja Aed

They say that Estonians are the most stationary nation in Europe – thousands of years ago, our forefathers gathered on this land and decided to stay. We carry with us traditions and wisdom that has been passed down from generation to generation. The roots of our story go way back. Now we look back and appreciate our old recipes and ancient customs. We want to prepare traditional dishes in a way that all Estonians know and love while also adding a contemporary touch.

This tea mushroom drink from China first gained popularity more than 2,000 years ago and reached Europe (through Russia) at the start of the 20th century. During Soviet times, a lot of Estonians grew this fungus in 3-litre bottles in their homes. Nowadays, Kombucha is a trendy beverage. Known for its health benefits and refreshing taste, Kombucha could even be offered at dinner parties.

  • Course: beverage
  • Serves: 1
  • Preparation time: 15 min
  • Difficulty: easy


1 bottle ginger kombucha (Homemade Kombucha - look down below)
3 slices ginger
Black pepper

Sugar syrup with basil
100 g water
100 g sugar
1 large bunch of basil


  1. Place water and sugar in a saucepan, heat until boiling, then cool. Add basil to the syrup and blend.
  2. Peel the ginger and cut into slices about 5 mm thick.
  3. Put two slices of ginger and the sugar syrup into a glass and crush using a pestle. Add crushed ice or ice cubes. Pour in the kombucha. Mix it all through and grate black pepper on top.
  4. Decorate with a slice of ginger and basil leaves. Serve immediately.

Kombucha base, 3 litres (homemade kombucha)

2 litres water
3-4 teabags or 3-4 tsp loose tea (green or black)
200 g sugar
200-400 ml starter liquid (ready-made kombucha)
Kombucha culture (Scoby)


  • Boil 2 litres of water in a pot, let it cool slightly and add the tea. Let it brew for about 3-7 minutes (depending on the type of tea).
  • Add sugar and mix until it dissolves. Let the tea cool down before adding the kombucha culture. The tea should not be warmer than 36 ºC.
  • Pour the cooled tea in a glass jar, add kombucha culture and finally the starter liquid (the ready-made kombucha).
  • Cover the mouth of the jar with a fine cotton cloth and tie it tightly.
  • Place the jar in a warm (ideally 24-29 ºC) and dark place for 5-14 days. The exact fermentation time depends on personal taste, room temperature, etc.
  • Carefully test the kombucha with a straw. The less you mix the kombucha culture, the better.
  • Once it has reached the desired sweetness and acidity, bottle the kombucha.
  • Before filling the bottles, put aside 200-400 ml of starter liquid and add in some kombucha culture (with clean hands!). Cover and start with a new batch.

Kombucha culture can float on the surface or sink to the bottom. That doesn't change the fermentation process. But new culture will always grow on the surface. Kombucha culture takes at least 3 batches to get used to the new environment, so it will work better and better with time.

Photos by: Johannes Hõimoja

Last updated : 22.04.2021