Category Archives: drink

homestead hooch

Today I realized I have a bit of a history with home brews… or homestead hooch as it’s been called. I was mixing up a new batch of kombucha and remembered back to high school and college when brewing beer was all the rage.

It started in high school when my friend Matt was brewing beer and wine in his kitchen. We often HAD to skip pre-calculus class to go “check” on the fermenting wonder. Skip ahead a few years and the microbrew beer culture was just beginning to hit Portland when I was at Lewis & Clark College. My friend Joe decided to try his hand at brewing and we would spend afternoons at our friend Mark’s house mixing up concoctions (that’s Joe and I 20 years ago). Of course the irony here is that I’ve never been a huge fan of the malted beverage, but I love the idea of handcrafting something you love.

I got back into home brewing last year when I started brewing kombucha from a SCOBY start I received from my friend Chris. I took a bit of a hiatus over the winter, but now that summer is upon us I’m craving what the Chinese call the drink of the gods. I started a new batch this weekend and I’m looking forward to another summer filled with the elixir.

milk and cookies

My friend Anne is the most talented party planner and decorative baker I know. I am always amazed by her works of art, but she trumped herself this time when throwing a first birthday party for her daughter Aubrey. The theme was milk and cookies and everything you see here, from the cakes to the cookies to the decorations were handmade by her. Of course her friends and family are always the beneficiaries of her gifts… but she’s starting to offer her talents to other lucky connoisseurs. Connecticut is one lucky state to have Miss Anne Powers in their midst.

the birthday girl

the scene

the scene (cont.)

ta da… the cake!

the details – drinks at the watering hole

cookies galore

puffy paper flowers

party favors – as if the rest wasn’t enough!

the serenade by her big sister

the reward!

kombucha brew part ii

i decanted my first batch of kombucha that had been brewing in my kitchen over the past two weeks. it had just the right amount of zing. all of that lovely liquid fit snugly into six glass bottles. they are now hanging out in my pantry while they develop a little fizz. once that’s done i’ll move them to my fridge where they wait until drinking commences. at that point i’ll add a little sweet juice to balance out the tart kombucha. i can hardly wait!

homebrewed kombucha


As the green tea-sugar water mixture cools in the recycled olive jar, the SCOBY waits patiently to be added to the mix and begin its fermenting magic. While waiting I listened to the men’s semifinal (Roddick-Murray) on Radio Wimbledon.

I’m trying my hand at my first homebrewed kombucha thanks to Chris’s generous gift of a thriving SCOBY (short for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast). For those of you who haven’t tasted kombucha – it is a sweetened fermented tea that has been described as an “immortal health elixir.

Kombucha, which dates back to the Qin Dynasty in China (250 B.C.), balances the middle Qi (spleen and stomach) which in turn aids digestion and allows your body to focus on healing. Just what I need!

First you brew tea (green tea in my case) and mix it with sugar water before adding the SCOBY to the concoction. I just bottled my first batch and will now wait for a couple weeks before I decant it into smaller bottles and get it ready for drinking.