For your New Year’s Day brunch, it’s the rare drink that’s even simpler to make than a Bellini. With no ensuing sugar headaches in your future.

By Carey Jones and John D. McCarthy
December 28, 2018
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Prairie's kombucha bellini (photo: Aubrie Pick)

It’s the dawn of 2019. You maybe had a few too many glasses of bubbles last night. Your New Year’s Resolutions are imminent, but can probably wait until you’ve gotten your hair of the dog. And it’s still a holiday, so we can be a little festive. But on January 1, complicated drinks are probably beyond you by this point.

The solution? According to chef Anthony Strong, his Kombucha Bellini. “It’s the best way to detox while you re-tox,” according to the chef—and couldn’t be easier to make at home.

Like other drinks on the fun, concise list he’s designed for his loosely Italian San Francisco restaurant Prairie—including the Italian Greyhound, with Hangar 1 vodka, Bruto Americano, Cappelletti, and grapefruit juice squeezed on a rattly old machine right in front of you—it’s clever, easy to execute and not overwrought in the least. Two ingredients, bubbles and kombucha, and you’re done. Not even a garnish required.

No one really likes Bellinis, thinks Strong. With heavily sugared peach nectar and, often, bottom-shelf sparkling wine, they’re a dated relic of sub-par restaurant brunches everywhere. They’re so sweet, so... gloppy: “Hey, here’s your cheap Prosecco and syrup.” But, he muses, “I like to be inspired by things I can’t stand.”

So he reached for something more current. “I feel like I’m the rare chef who goes to yoga and drinks kombucha,” Strong explains. So the fermented drink was a natural choice for a cocktail. Both the kombucha and Prosecco are sparkling, with a bit of backbone to them, making the two a great match.

Whereas many restaurants (and home enthusiasts, for that matter) are creating their own kombuchas these days, Strong decided to opt for a bottled version. (“I’d rather nail a great cocktail than babysit my own damn kombucha.”) After a rather grueling tasting process—“It was a rough afternoon of trying thirty kombuchas, believe me.”—he found that GT’s Synergy Enlightened “Trilogy” worked perfectly, and in a gorgeous hue besides. It had the perfect “sourness to funk ratio,” proving a great pairing for dry, refined Sorro Prosecco.

The result is “bright and tart and a little more modern,” he says. “It puts a smile on people’s faces. No one smiles at a Bellini.” And for your New Year’s Day brunch, it’s the rare drink that’s even simpler to make than a Bellini. With no ensuing sugar headaches in your future.

Kombucha Bellini

If you can’t find the Prosecco brand Sorro, opt for the driest you can find; a good Cava works well, too. The Synergy Enlightened Trilogy is widely available at grocery stores across the country.

3 ounces Sorro Prosecco

3 ounces GT’s Synergy "Enlightened" Trilogy Kombucha

Combine ingredients in a flute. No garnish needed.

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