Kombuchaholic / by vanessa

I am 37k feet in the air right now on my way to NYC. This morning I caught an Uber at an unnatural hour. I have this thing about flying where I compulsively drink fluids so my skin doesn't look like a cracked desert floor when I get off the plane. Typically, I drink a huge glass of water before I leave, then bring my Sigg bottle with me or buy a liter bottle of water at the airport, then order more water onboard. It's a time-released hydration program. But at 5:20 this morning, my Uber driver arrived, I hadn't had any water and I couldn't find my Sigg lid. I grabbed the next best thing for the ride to the airport: a bottle of kombucha. This kombucha:kombucha

I have been drinking GT's kombucha since either 2004 or 2005. The tatted, dreadlocked dude at the hole by my work recommended it. "It's an acquired taste," he said. I loved it. It was a time in my life I was obsessed with sauca and drawn to anything purported to purify the body.

In 2010 my kombucha days came crashing down. As lore goes, Lindsay Lohan failed a court-ordered test for alcohol in her system and she blamed it on the fermented yeasty beverage. Whole Foods and other retailers pulled it off their shelves, the government got involved, and it was basically like prohibition. A year or so later, when the product was finally re-introduced, the GTs that I knew and loved just didn't taste the same. Or maybe I made that up, but it fell flat. Until they introduced their original recipe, re-branding it as the kind for the over 21 club. I am not sure where on google I read this, but I recall reading that their new formulas had two probiotics missing. Moreover, the original recipe didn't necessarily have 0.5% ABV, it's that it couldn't be consistently measured to not have 0.5%, hence the labeling. In short, the alcohol version is better.

I have staunchly defended the practice of drinking brown bottle GTs. (In my own head.) When I was pregnant I asked my midwife if it was okay to drink the original formula. The fact that she admonished me for having a glass of wine at a friend's birthday dinner at five months pregnant gave me confidence that she would have told me if it were unsafe. She said it was fine, so throughout my pregnancy I would pick up a bottle with the rest of my groceries. Twice I had male checkers tell me that alcohol was harmful to my fetus. I wanted to say, "Probiotics, duh," but I only ever stared in return.

So anyway, this morning. I got in the front seat--is that weird?--and immediately clarified the type of kombucha I was drinking before six a.m. I explained about extra probiotics. He hadn't asked. "Look," he said, "I don't care if you pull out a Schlitz's malt liquor right now." We drove to the airport and listened to jazz.