Boza: Ancient Fermented Sourdough Drink

Boza is a fermented grain beverage widely popular in Turkey, from where it has spread to the Balkan States, the Levant, and even as far as Egypt. The history of boza, and its production from grains such as millet, barley, and wheat, and its fermentation with various sourdough starters, is fascinating.

Balkan style boza from millet

What is Boza?

Boza is made from extant local grains cooked to a porridge, inoculated with a yeast or sourdough starter, and allowed to ferment for a short time. The porridge can also be made with various botanicals as flavoring agents. 

After fermenting, the solids are strained out and a sweetener such as sugar or honey is added. It will contain about 1% or less alcohol by volume at this point, but also a rich strain of probiotics and vitamins. The consistency can vary from smooth like buttermilk, to a pudding that you eat with a spoon. The flavor is sweet/tart, and filled with umami. 

Boza History

Records of making and consuming grain beverages go back at least 9000 years, with mentions of millet boza specifically, traced as early as the 10th Century CE among the Turkic peoples. Its popularity then spread to the Caucasus and Balkan regions.  

The people of the Ottoman Empire notably became its very fervent fan base. From the 14th to the 16th Centuries boza making was a common trade. By the mid-1500s however, the custom of mixing boza with opium brought on the wrath of the Sultan, who banned its manufacture. With the rise of Islam, and prohibition of alcoholic drinks in the 17th century, boza was again prohibited and all boza shops were closed. This prohibition would be enforced, and then relaxed, several times in Ottoman Empire history. Still, travellers were able to find boza widely drunk, and at one time there were 300 boza shops employing over a thousand people in Constantinople alone.

Boza Ingredients

While boza from the the Balkans is usually made from millet, in modern Turkey bulgur (cracked parboiled wheat) is often used, and recipes can also contain rice. In Egypt, barley is commonly used. Some Balkan recipes call for baked wheat flour instead of bulgur, and sometimes maize (corn) is included.

Boza was traditionally a tart, and sometimes quite alcoholic beverage. After the prohibitive ruling by the Sultan, a sweet and non-alcoholic version was introduced in the 19th century and became much more popular than its sour and alcoholic predecessor. In 1876, brothers Hacı İbrahim and Hacı Sadık established a boza shop in Istanbul’s Vefa district that continues to serve sweet boza to this day. Modern Boza is allowed to ferment very briefly, perhaps 20 hours or so, and is sweetened with raw or turbinado sugar or honey before being refrigerated to inhibit further yeast activity.

Turkish style boza from bulgur with chickpeas


Historically boza was served with grape molasses (Greek: Petimezi) from Kuşadası, powdered cinnamon, cloves, ginger and grated coconut. Modern touches include garnishes such as mint, or pieces of fruit like pomegranate or persimmon. Some modern recipes may add a vanilla bean during the cooking process.

Fermentation Organisms

Traditionally, a sample saved from a previous batch was used to initiate the fermentation process, in a way similar to how sourdough bread is inoculated. Today the beginner can use a commercial sourdough starter, or create their own using a flour and water mixture exposed to the local ambient air.

Lacking these options it is possible to start a boza batch by adding yogurt and baker’s yeast. Alternately, mixtures of baker’s yeast and probiotic lacto/pedio bacteria blends can substitute.

Preparing Boza

Wash and cover the grains with fresh water

Soak the grains several hours or overnight

Drain the soak water from the grains and add more water to cover them

Cook the grains until they are soft adding water as needed

Liquefy the cooked grains in a blender with the some of the cooking water

Strain out the solids with a fine mesh strainer back into the cooking pot

Add the sugar, and more water to the desired finished quantity

Cool the liquid to lukewarm temperature and add the sourdough starter, (or yeast/yogurt) cover with a towel or cloth

Move the container to a warm place (such as an oven with the light on) at 21 – 27 ºC (70 – 80 ºF)

Ferment for 24 to 72 hours, stirring occasionally, and depending on how sour you wish to make it

Strain and transfer the liquid to a plastic jug, add finishing sugar, and refrigerate

Loosen the jug’s cap occasionally to release excess pressure

The boza will continue to ferment slowly and become carbonated and stronger in ABV

Serving Boza

In Turkey, boza is typically served cold in water glasses, perhaps ones with a handle like a mug. For additional flavor, it is often sweetened with sugar or grape molasses, topped with cinnamon and roasted chickpeas. A dessert spoon is sometimes supplied as well, as the boza can be as thick as a pudding, although it is usually about the consitency of milk kiefer.

Egyptian Boza with Date Sugar, Date Syrup and Ajwain Seed

Boza Health and Nutritional Benefits

Researchers that studied boza samples made from maize, wheat, and rice flours determined that on average they consisted of 12.3% total sugar, 1.06% protein, and 0.07% fat. Boza also contains vitamins A, B, and E, in a highly bioavailable form, and it provides the health benefits of a probiotic drink with its variety of lactic acid bacteria cultures.

A myth in the Balkan countries suggests that drinking boza regularly makes women grow bigger breasts! While there is no scientific support to this claim, some women are convinced that it works.

Balkan Boza Recipe 2 litres

250g Millet, 280g Turbinado sugar, 150ml Sourdough starter, 1.5 litres Water

Turkish Boza Recipe 2 litres

200g Bulgur, 55g Brown rice, 200g Raw sugar 150ml Sourdough starter 1.5 litres Water

Egyptian Recipe 2 litres

250g Pot Barley, 200g Date sugar, 150ml Sourdough starter, 1.5 litres Water, 100g Date syrup, Toasted Ajwain seed

Roasted Chickpea Recipe

1 can (398 ml) garbanzo (chickpea) beans, drained, skins removed, dried with paper towel. Coat with 1 Tbs cold-pressed grapeseed oil; roast 30 minutes at 190 ºC (375 ºF)) turning frequently. Toss with zest of 1 lime, 2 tsp white wine vinegar, sea salt to taste. Return to oven 3 minutes; cool. Store in airtight container.

Grape Molasses (Petimezi)

1.35 litres white grape juice reduced by boiling to 250 mililitres

The Internal Alembic Still

A closer look at a primitive process.

Home distilling in Southeast Asia

Recall that the alembic still has three basic components: the retort, the condenser, and the receiver. The alchemists of old constructed finely crafted clay and glass instruments for their distillations. But their secret processes would inevitably become known, and attempts to duplicate them with household utensils would be many.

In Asian cooking, large pots and deep woks are common. As it happens, their size and shape make them ideal for constructing what is called an “internal alembic” still. In this configuration, the mash or wine is put into the large pot, which is heated and becomes the retort. For the receiver, a small wok is placed on a pedestal, centered inside the pot. A condenser is constructed from a wok large enough to span the top opening of the pot. Cold water is circulated through the condenser wok, and vapours from the heated wine or mash condense on its cold bottom surface. As this liquid accumulates, it drips off the surface and down into the receiving lower wok.

A look through many a modern kitchen, and some not so modern, will often find the basic materials for constructing a modest internal alembic. Soup pots of four to six liters make a retort. Stainless steel bowls of various sizes are commonly available at superstores. A tall stemmed glass makes a good pedestal. The trick is to assemble the parts, charge the still, heat on a stove, and with a few tweaks and techniques, harvest the liquor. The other trick being, of course, to make sure you live in a country where home distilling is legal!

The Basics of Distillation

Introduction to an ancient art.

An alembic (from Arabic: الإنبيق, romanized: al-inbīq, 

Distillation is a process of separating and concentrating the components of a liquid mixture. The basic procedure has been practised since the time of the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia. As these were the people who also invented beer, it should be no surprise that they also figured out how to make beer even stronger!

Distillation relies for its success on the fact that different compounds in a liquid mixture experience a “phase change” (turning from solid to liquid to vapour) at different temperatures. With a mixture consisting of water and alcohol-related compounds, separating these components can be accomplished in two ways: either freezing the water, or boiling the alcohol.

Freeze distillation, sometimes called “jacking,” relies on the fact that water freezes at a higher temperature than alcohol. While this seems simple enough, in practice it has two major drawbacks. First, it requires a temperature that is much lower than the freezing point of water (-20F or -28C) to get much of an alcohol concentration. This can’t be achieved with a home freezer. More importantly though, freezing and removing the water crystals serves to concentrate not only desirable ethanol, but also fermentation compounds such as methanol, acetone, fusel oils, and other bi-products of yeast fermentation. Drinking a jacked beverage practically ensures a raging hangover as a result.

Heat distillation, in contrast, relies on the fact that the various fermentation components evaporate at a lower temperature than water. It’s also a feasible process for those who live in areas where there are never sub-zero ambient temperatures! In this procedure the liquid mixture is carefully heated in a vessel known as a retort, and the vapours rising from the liquid are directed into a condenser, and from there into a receiver.

To separate the components of a fermentation, the ancients invented “alembic” or “pot-still” distillation, the type of process used to make flavourful spirits from dark sugar solutions, wine, or beer from malted grains. These precursors tend to be low in alcohol, about the same as regular beer or wine (5 to 15 percent alcohol by volume or ABV.) They are first run through the still and all the output is collected in what is called the “stripping run.” This concentrates the ABV to about 30 to 40 percent.

A second “spirit run” concentrates the alcohol further. These various components, or “cuts” are collected separately, and then blended selectively at the distiller’s discretion. As the temperature of the liquid rises, successive compounds begin to evaporate, depending on their boiling point. The first to evaporate, called “foreshots,” are compounds such as acetaldehyde, ethyl acetate, and methyl alcohol. These are not pleasant tasting, and are even poisonous. They are usually discarded.

As the temperature continues to rise, various esters begin to evaporate in a distillation component known as the “heads.” As these tend to be fruity in taste and aroma, they can enhance the flavour of the eventual product, when used judiciously. Knowing how much heads to retain is one of the arts practised by the accomplished distiller.

At about 78C (173F) ethanol, along with some flavour compounds, begins to evaporate into the condenser. This component, known as the “hearts,” becomes the major constituent of the eventual product.

Alemic stills for making Mezcal in Oaxaca, Mexico. Look for "Destillado en Ollas" on the label.
Clay alembic stills for making Mezcal in Oaxaca, Mexico. Look for “Destilado en Ollas” on the label. Source: “Mezcal El Cortador”

Finally, the liquid begins to evaporate its “tails.” Consisting of higher alcohols such as isoaminol and isobutanol, these compounds also carry tastes and aromas we associate with brandy, whisky, and rum distillates. Again, knowing how much of the tails to retain to create complexity and interest in the final product is an art gained by the distiller through experience and sensory awareness.

To make a very pure alcohol such as vodka, a process known as “fractional distillation” is employed. Also called “rectification,” it is used when the liquid components have boiling points that are very close together, such as those in a white sugar wash. The vapours are directed into a tall column where they successively condense, descend, and evaporate again as they rise multiple times, until only a very pure ethanol emerges to be directed into the condenser. In alembic distillation, the distillate must be processed several times to concentrate and purify the product. With fractional distillation the product is purified with only one run through the still.

A Timely Translation Teaches Us Again How to Drink

The story is told of a student of philosopher and spiritualist George Gurdjieff, who approached him one day with wonderful news. “I’ve stopped smoking!” he exclaimed. “Great,” it’s said Gurdjieff replied, offering him one of his own long, thin, Russian cigarettes. “But, have you stopped NOT smoking too?”

This philosophy, moderation in all things–even moderation, is wonderfully and humorously espoused in the 16th Century book How to Drink by Vincent Obsopoeus (ca. 1498-1539). In a new release, Michael Fontaine, Professor of Classics at Cornell University makes the original Latin text accessible to 21st Century readers with an up-to-date translation that includes clever neologisms and familiar terms. As a bonus, the original Latin is included on the facing pages for those who wish to practice their classic language skills!

Obsopoeus was German humanist, Latin poet, and translator active in the Reformation. In Germany at the time, the climate had become uncharacteristically hot, and German grapes, usually low in sugar and hence capable of making only weak wine, were instead turning out fearsomely strong drink. As a result, it seemed to Obsopoeus, the entire nation had become a citizenry of drunks.

Now, according to Obsopoeus, taking a bit–and sometimes quite a bit–of wine is a perfectly fine passtime. But “if you drink in an uneducated manner, wine will hurt you.” On the other hand, “if you are educated about your drinking…wine is enjoyable and good.” Obsopoeus endeavors to educate his readers in good drinking practices.

Falarnian was the type of wine he most favored. This was an ancient Roman vintage, something akin to Sherry, with the grapes grown on the slopes of Mount Falernus in southern Italy. With a cult following at the time, it was a white wine, though produced from black grapes. Like Sherry, it was strong, as much as 15% alcohol. Harvested after late frosts, it was allowed to mature in amphorae for as long as 20 years, turning it amber to dark brown in color. Also like Sherry, it could vary from dry to sweet in flavor.

So enamored was he of this gift of the harvest that he writes a litany of praise to the god of wine, Bacchus and His power. “You make men rich, handsome and genteel! You alone, my lord, can gladden the gods of heaven.”

Vincent Opsopoeus

Vincent Obsopoeus

Obsopoeus offers hints and tips about how the gentleman should approach the indulgence of wine. Drink at home with your wife he recommends. Or drink moderately with friends and family, always being reserved and discreet. Honor the god Bacchus, and always be appropriately thankful and mindful of his gift of alcohol.

On the contrary, getting smashed and vulgar every day is a terrible sin, and an insult to the divine gift offered to humankind by Bacchus. Obsopoeus spends an entire section of the book describing in lurid detail the degradation and debauchery exhibited by his fellow citizens while under the terrible influence of their own self-poisoning.

But at this point Obsopoeus introduces a plot twist to his book. How to win drinking games: a skill he studiously practiced in his younger years! Evidently there was only one kind of 16th Century drinking game: take turns downing glasses of wine until all but one player passed out.

Obsopoeus offers his tried-and-true strategies for winning these drinking contests, including several methods of cheating. You’ll have to read the book to discover his secrets, but there is one worth mentioning up front: don’t try to compete with women! “The reason, you’ll find, is that women who indulge are equipped with a breathtaking ability to hold their liquor. They put Bacchus Himself to shame when they drink wine.”

And one more hint: to relieve a hangover, get yourself an amethyst crystal. The name of this sure-fire cure comes from the Greek a- (against) metfhyo (drunkenness.) Bet you didn’t know that!

Obsopoeus published this, his most famous work, in 1536. He was about 38 when he wrote the book, aimed in part at hard-drinking 19 to 25-year-old college students. He addresses bro/frat culture with the admonitions of experience. By 41 he was dead, having wished he had taken his own advice in his youth. Hopefully, very many medieval bros heeded his message; here we are today, with the benefit of hearing it anew. Enjoy your drink, but respect its power. To Bacchus he exclaims “For crying out loud, I’ll be damned if You can’t resurrect dead bodies with the juices that flow from Your vine!”

Robert Rivelle George is the author of “The Umami Factor: Full-spectrum Fermentation for the 21st Century”

A Classical Guide to the Art of Imbibing
By Vincent Obsopoeus
Translated and Introduced by Michael Fontaine
320 pages Princeton University Press $16.95

Sizing up the Growlerwerks uKeg Pressurized Growler

I first came across Growlerwerks at the Craft Beverage Conference in 2015. They had just completed their Kickstarter campaign, and were showing prototypes of their innovatively-designed uKeg beer dispensing system. They’ve come a long way since then, and the uKeg, which is available both on the company website, and through Amazon, routinely receives four-star reviews. Growlerwerks is getting pretty creative too in suggesting ways to use the keg to dispense soft drinks and pre-mixed cocktails, and as a means of force-carbonating beverages.

I’ve tested the 2-liter (64 ounce) version for the last four months, and here are my findings.

The uKeg comes very nicely packaged. The box is well-compartmentalized, and contains, besides the keg itself, a nice tote bag for transporting the keg to and from a fill station, 12 spare CO2 cartridges, a spare pressure cap seal, Growlerwerks sticker for your beer fridge, and a comprehensive user manual with excellent detailed instructions and blow-up drawings showing all the parts assemblies. A pocket-sized manual is included as well.

The uKeg itself is a 2 or 4 liter double-walled, vacuum-insulated aluminum pressure vessel with an adjustable pressure-regulator cap. It’s available in brushed aluminum, copper finish, or anodized black. The dispensing system is a cool-looking Steampunk styled tap attached to the side of the keg. The dispenser incorporates a sight glass and a pressure gauge, making it functional as well as decorative. The keg comes with a one-year warranty. Growlerwerks also offers phone and email customer support.

My experience with the Growlerwerks uKeg has been largely positive, with only a few minor quibbles. First of all, this little fellow is going to turn some heads when you bring it to the growler filling shop, picnic, or friend’s party. The classic lines remind me of the look of the equipment in some of the very old breweries still operating in Europe. The copper-clad version is particularly handsome.

I found that Growlerwerks is also fairly conservative in their estimation of its performance. For example, officially the keg is supposed to keep beer fresh for “at least two weeks.” I have had beer in it a month with no deterioration of quality, as long as the keg was kept full. Even a partially-filled keg’s contents were fine after two weeks.

Growlerwerks says your beer will stay cold “all day.” I found that beer would be drinkably cold for 24 hours, and would be at least “cellar temperature” (typical of English cask ales) for up to 36 hours. It helps to pre-chill the keg with the cap off before filling it. (The keg is nicely sized to fit on a typical refrigerator shelf.)

The uKeg is also rated to use one CO2 cartridge per fill—kind of economically daunting if you like to fill your keg a couple of times a week. I have gotten two to three fills out of a cartridge however. I found that if I apply the minimum amount of pressure to dispense the liquid inside, and turn off the pressure between pours I can conserve the gas and make it last. (Growlerwerks says turning off the pressure doesn’t conserve gas, and I have not tested the functionality both ways.)

I found that the tap-handle lock is also a great feature, preventing accidental discharge of the contents when the keg is being moved.

Now for the quibbles, and I stress that they are trivial in consideration of the overall performance of the uKeg.

The cap, with considerable pressure inside (about 10-15 psi) will occasionally leak. It’s not a serious issue in my experience, a few drips a minute. Nonetheless it helps to be aware of the possibility, and put the keg on a tray or platter. This helps to also contain the inevitable drips that will come from the spout after a pour.

Many of the online complaints filed about the uKeg involve problems with the pressure cartridge leaking. I suppose this is understandable, because the cap is the product’s most complicated assembly. Others refer to the poor quality of assembly and finish, and leaks elsewhere in the piping.

To be fair, many of the complaints appear to be from the early days of production, and evidently Growlerwerks has sorted these problems out. My unit arrived without any of these issues. In any event, customer service seems to be quite responsive to complaints after a few growing pains typical of start-ups.

A number of my fellow brew club members have had a chance to play with the uKeg too, and are similarly impressed. A few mentioned that the Steampunk pouring assembly looks like it might be a bit fragile, and I certainly wouldn’t want the keg to fall off the counter or roll around in the footwell of the car. With proper caution however, and transporting the unit in its carry bag, that should not be an issue.

In conclusion then, I too join the ranks of customers giving the Growlerwerks uKeg four out of five stars. Despite some minor drawbacks, I’m very happy with its performance, as well as its handsome looks. I think you will like it too!

Evaluation by Robert Rivelle George
Author: the UMAMI factor: Full-spectrum fermentation for the 21st Century
Director and Division Manager, Torchlight Brewing Company
FB: theumamifactory

Buccoleon Strong Ale

belgian-strongpcThis is a classic Belgian dark tripel. If you have tried Brouwerij Van Steenberge’s Gulden Draak, you know what I mean. Buccoleon Strong Ale is a tribute to that world-class beer.

Brewed with Belgian Strong Ale yeast, it offers flavors of raisins, plums and pears, together with spicy hints of cloves, rum, and nutmeg. Starting with a Pilsner malt base; wheat malt, cara-wheat, crystal malt, biscuit/aroma malts and caramely golden syrup provide a flaky crust for this virtual fruit tart. The yeast leaves its distinctiver mark.

As it is not a Gulden Draak clone, it is a bit drier and a little more bitter. Its original gravity of 24.5 Plato (1105) still leaves a lot of residual sweetness, so it is refermented in the bottle with Champagne yeast and no added bottling sugar. Age this one at least a year.


Gulden Draak is named after the golden dragon at the top of the belfry of Ghent. The story of how he got there is fascinating. Buccoleon was the dragon’s name. He lived in the swampy ground around Aleppo, one of the chief cities of the Saracens in northern Syria. He was such a tender-hearted old dragon that he was called The Weeping Dragon. He wept bucketfuls of tears when Belgian crusaders and the Saracens fell to fighting. Where his tears fell, beautiful flowers began to grow.

A crusader took their bulbs back to Belgium, where they became famous for being the most beautiful tulips of all. Hearing about their fame, Buccoleon, whose scales had turned to gold because the crusaders had left, flew to Belgium to see for himself. He decided to stay!

Rum Raisin Brown Stout

rum-raisin-brown-stoutpcThis is a beer that answers the question “What would it be like to brew up a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies?”

In the past, the term “stout” referred to a beer that was extra strong. Thus, we had Porter, and we had Stout Porter, which eventually became just Stout for short. Interestingly, what is now known as Stout is oftentimes rather low in alcoholic content while Porters tend to have an ABV of 5.5% to 6% or more. But historically, Stout was any beer that was as strong as the drinkers that were expected to consume it.

To make this brown stout, start with the ingredients for cookies: wheat malt, oats, sultana raisins. Add to this Maris Otter base malt, crystal malt, a touch of caramel rye malt, and some Cara Munich. Mash at a fairly high temperature to encourage the production of unfermentable sugars that will keep the brew more sweet and full-bodied. Magnum and Amarillo hops are assertive without being overpowering. Add golden syrup at the end of the boil to contribute more caramel flavors. Ferment with a fruity yeast such as London Ale. Soak sultanas in dark rum until they are soft, then whirl the mixture in a blender. Add some to the primary fermenter, and another batch to the secondary, along with a hint of vanilla extract.

The result is not so much a beer that tastes like oatmeal raisin cookies as it is an oatmeal raisin cookie that tastes like beer.

Cascadia Nation Black Lager

cascadia-black-lagercThe Cascade Mountain Range extends from Southern British Columbia through Western Washington and Oregon, into Northern California. Part of the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire” its highest peak is the volcano Mount Rainier. To its west are the hipster havens of Seattle and Portland, famous for some of the finest craft beer in the world. To its east lies the fertile hop growing region of the Yakima Valley in Washington. South of Portland, at the western edge of the Cascades, another stretch of fine hop farms fills the Willamette River valley.

The Cascade Range and its surrounding hop and barley farms form the mythical country of Cascadia. A generous cartographer would include the barley-growing regions of the Columbia Basin, and the Palouse, stretching east and south from Spokane, Washington. It also makes sense to declare San Francisco an honorary member among Cascadia cities, for it is the birthplace of the modern craft beer movement in the United States, thanks to the visionary efforts of Fritz Maytag and his Anchor Brewing Company.

Grain harvesting in Whitman County, Washington

Grain harvesting in Whitman County, Washington

The strains of hops developed in Cascadia, fittingly often begin with the letter “C” themselves. The “Four C’s” as they are sometimes called, are Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Columbus. More recently Citra ™ has joined the group. They are dominantly bright, piney, citrusy and resinous in taste and aroma, and form the basis of most American India Pale Ales. Recently, they have been incorporated into a style known as Cascadian Dark Ale.

As hop and barley production began to ramp up in Cascadia during the 1980s, another development took place 180 degrees away in the Ring of Fire. Japanese brewers were early to recognize the potential for product differentiation offered by creating all-malt lagers in their commercial operations. Kirin and Sapporo led the way with premium “black beer” (黒ビール), featuring roasted malts and a sweet finish.

The Cascadia Black Lager shown here pays homage to both sides of the Ring of Fire. It is hoppy (40 IBU) like a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, slightly roasty like a dark ale, with mildly sweet maltiness like Japanese black lager. It uses the San Francisco lager yeast to keep the finish drier than a typical ale. Cold-infused specialty grains, including debittered Carafa II, Munich malt and Breiss Special Roast maximize flavor while keeping away excessive burned harshness. A nice thick head leads to a moderately full mouth feel, and its 5.7% ABV is assertive, while keeping it well within the range of sessionability for the discerning and determined tippler!

Corny Comet Cream Breakfast Ale

Corny CometCPC
A cream ale for breakfast. Not meant to replace your double espresso, but rather to stand beside it, bracing you for the day to come.

Cream ale emerged in the late 19th Century United States when ale breweries, faced with immigrant competition from Bavarian brewers bringing lager to the market, devised a light and refreshing, yet bold concoction that combined the crisp, dry flavor of a lager with the rapid fermentation characteristics of an ale. In many of these renditions, a substantial ABV approaching 5.5% was a feature.

This cream ale uses 22 IBU of Comet hops, a variety that tastes and smells remarkably like pink grapefruit. Breakfast cereal included: organic corn grits, and steel-cut oats, along with some nice caramel notes from a variety of crystal malts. Starting gravity is 15 Plato, boosted by a late addition of rice syrup solids. White Labs WLP080 Cream Ale yeast blend provides crisp yet round fermentation notes. Dry hopping with Comet offers grapefruit aroma.

This is a fruity breakfast drink; cream of corn grits with fruit and oats, delivered with the full mouthfeel of an ultimate smoothie.

Kola\Coca Soda

In the years after the Civil War in the United States, nostrums and remedies began to appear for sale in the cities and towns throughout the South. One of these was invented by a war veteran who had been injured in battle, and subsequently found himself addicted to morphine, which he had been using to relieve his pain. Marketed as Pemberton’s French Wine Coca, it was touted as a cure for the blues, as well as for morphine addiction. The alcoholic version of the drink was reformulated in response to temperance legislation enacted in the area, and eventually became the world’s top-selling soft drink.

Pemberton's French Wine Coca

Pemberton’s French Wine Coca

This recipe for a drink that contains both coca leaf and kola nut extracts looks particularly pale when compared to commercial cola products. That is because the coloring agent in those versions is caramel. Commercial caramel color is created by heat-treating sugars such as glucose in the presence of acids, alkalies, or salts. It’s there pretty much only for the color. Leave it out and you get a pale golden drink colored, in this case, by the kola nut, coca leaf, and raw cane ingredients. Lime juice and six essential oils complete the formula.

Kola\Coca Soda tastes amazingly like a fresh version of the familiar cola practically everyone knows. It is very aromatic, thanks to the fresh lime juice and combination of fruit and spice oils. If you add a shot or two of dark rum to this beverage you will undoubtedly find yourself soon shouting “¡Cuba Libre!”