I normally don’t post two days in a row, but today is Recipe Redux day! This month’s theme is A Spirited Redux:
From plain Jane vanilla extract to fancy-pants elderflower liqueur, we like to keep a little liquor in the kitchen. Show us how you like to cook, bake or mix-it-up with spirits, extracts and other alcohols. A splash of vodka makes summer sauces shine – and liqueurs brighten desserts: What’s your healthy recipe with spirit?
There was a time in high school when I found bars, clubs, and alcoholic beverages very exciting. As silly as it sounds, the prospect of being able to drink made sixteen year old me feel like I could be one of the classy ladies I saw on television- you know, Carrie from Sex and the City, or the glamorous teenagers on Gossip Girl. My very first experiences with alcohol weren’t very great, and a night where I had a drink rarely ended well. Drinking makes me feel very hot and flushed, my heart beat extremely rapidly, and my body feels physically uncomfortable. For some reason, I thought everyone experienced the same thing when they had alcohol, but I was wrong: only those with Asian flush do! I always thought the terms ‘Asian glow’ or ‘Asian flush’ were used to describe the intense blush I got when I consumed alcohol. Recently, however, I found out that Asian flush is a phenomenon that effects not just the glow of my skin, but occurs on a much deeper level within my body. As it turns out, numerous individuals of Asian descent are unable to process alcohol, as we lack a liver enzyme (ALDH2) necessary to do so.
Within the human body, alcohol is processed by two enzymes: alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). ADH helps to convert alcohol to the carcinogenic substance acetaldehyde, which is then converted by ALDH into acetate. ALDH2 is a mutated form of ALDH, making it difficult for me, and everyone else who has Asian flush, to convert the acetaldehyde into acetate. The result? A flushed face, racing heartbeat, and nausea. As I mentioned above, acetaldehyde is carcinogenic. This, unfortunately, means that those who drink often despite lacking the enzyme to do so are at an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer. I will occasionally indulge in a very small serving of wine or beer, but it takes me an astonishingly long time (an hour, maybe an hour and a half) to finish 1/3 of a pint without experiencing the effects of Asian flush.
Since I seldom drink, I decided not to invest in an entire bottle of alcohol for this month’s theme. In keeping with the spirit of the theme, I came up with a mocktail recipe involving one of my favourite beverages: kombucha! What better time to enjoy a mocktail than during the summer? This recipe is lazy and easy, and perfect for a sunny summer afternoon.
Why drink kombucha? Kombucha is a fermented tea that has been around for 2000 years. It is slightly sweet, a little bit sour, and is carbonated. It is made by adding SCOBY, a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, to sweetened tea. Due to its fermented nature, kombucha has significant levels of healthy bacteria. Lauren from The Holy Kale writes, “Much like yogurt, kefir or sauerkraut, it [kombucha] contains live strains of good cultures that help to re-populate the intestine. This is important because it is the good bacteria in the digestive system that protects you from the bad guys that lead to illness. These bacteria work the same way that probiotics do, which are key to a healthy immune system. This is where kombucha and other fermented foods are so important and effect.” Kombucha is also high in B vitamins and organic acids that promote immune system and help the liver detox. For a more detailed discussion of kombucha’s health benefits, check out my sources below.
Mango Raspberry Kombucha Mocktail
*yields one serving
1 cup Synergy Mystic Mango kombucha
1 cup coconut water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup mango chunks or mango purée
1/2 cup raspberry chunks or raspberry purée
maple syrup or agave to sweeten, if desired
1. Pour the kombucha, coconut water, and lemon juice into a large glass.
2. Chop the fruit into chunks, or purée in a food processor.
3. Add the fruit to the liquid.
4. I didn’t feel the need to sweeten my drink, but if you prefer a sweeter beverage, add some maple syrup or agave.
Enjoy : )
Wishing you much love and happy kitchen adventures,