It’s that time of the year, again! Food season! Time to whip out your holiday thinking caps and experiment with the flavors of the season. I love how the end of the year is so focused on food. Not just any food, but specific flavors that instantly open books of nostalgia, transporting your brain to moments of comfort and coziness from years past. Today I’m talking cranberry and cinnamon. These two together transport me instantly to the best day of the year–Thanksgiving. Can’t every day just be Thanksgiving! :D …Every other day?! Cranberries are delightfully tart, like little baby sour apples. That similarity might be why cinnamon pairs so well with cranberries as it does with apples. With the cranberries, you get a little more zing, however. I like to add a little bit of lime juice to the mix. Limes are a great flavor smoother and add another layer of sweet tartness. In this case, I also add a little bit of sugar. If you want your kombucha to get nice and fizzy, you’ll want to add a little bit of sugar here as well. Depending on how long you let your primary ferment go when you bottle, there may be little to no sugar left for the yeast. The yeast needs the sugar to produce CO2 and thus fizzy kombucha! Being that there’s not a ton of sugar in cranberries, adding just a pinch of sugar when you bottle will do the trick. A delicious, cold, glass of bubbly cranberry and cinnamon kombucha is a great way to start your morning off right. And fulfill your Thanksgiving cravings. Let’s get into how you can make it at home.
PRIMARY VS SECONDARY FERMENTATION
It’s important to note that brewing homemade kombucha is almost always a two-step fermentation process. Brewing kombucha is only a one-step process for those who prefer an unflavored flat kombucha. Otherwise, the steps consist of a primary fermentation and secondary fermentation.
- Primary Fermentation: The primary fermentation is the first step of the kombucha brewing process. This is where your SCOBY transforms regular sweet tea into the tart and slightly sweet kombucha we love. At the end of this stage, you will have finished kombucha, but it will be flat and unflavored. Have you skipped this step? Then check out our guide on making kombucha at home or our guide on making jun kombucha at home. Traditional kombucha is going to yield a bolder brew, while jun kombucha is milder and a bit more tart.
- Secondary Fermentation: The secondary fermentation is the step where you bottle, carbonate, and flavor your kombucha by the addition of sugar and flavors. This step is essentially adding a bit of sugar/flavor to each airtight bottle and letting it ferment a little longer, allowing the yeast to carbonate the beverage in an airtight environment naturally. How exactly does this happen? See our post on kombucha secondary fermentation here.
Since this recipe is for the secondary fermentation, to make this recipe, you’ll need to have kombucha that has finished the primary fermentation and ready to bottle.
- Kombucha: You need kombucha that has completed primary fermentation and is ready to bottle and flavor.
- Cranberries: The main tart ingredient of this drink.
- Cinnamon Stick: A sweet woody flavor.
- Brown Sugar: A strong caramel flavor.
- Lime Juice: This is an optional ingredient.
SECONDARY FERMENTATION PREPARATION
This recipe makes one 16 fluid ounce bottle. For a 1-gallon batch, make 7 16 ounce bottles of kombucha or times the ingredients by 7. Before beginning this recipe, you will want to:
- Reserve 12 – 16 fluid ounces of kombucha and your pellicle from your completed primary fermentation and set aside. It’s best to pour from the top of the brew jar as the bottom will have a much higher yeast concentration. You will use this as your starter for your next gallon batch of kombucha.
- With your kombucha starter tea and SCOBY placed aside, you will now have enough kombucha left to make seven 16 oz bottles. These bottles are the most popular as they are considered the best bottles for kombucha secondary fermentation, but any other airtight bottles made for carbonation will work.