For our Xmas gift this year, we wanted something that would allow us to do some gorgeous design and, because design trends are always influenced by shifting cultural attitudes and trends around us, to talk a bit about some of the things we think are having a major impact on design today and into 2015.
We live in an age of information overload, mass production and artificial replication. We don’t know what is in our food, what the clothes we wear are made of and where the products we buy are sourced from. It’s probably natural then, that we’re seeing a kind of ‘cultural backlash’ – a return to the older ways of doing things not only in terms of how things are made, but in terms of where they’re made – a preference for more natural, locally sourced products and produce. Paradoxically, though, because we now live in a global community this search for more natural, healthy products isn’t confined to our own backyard – we’re discovering healthy alternatives from a range of different cultures all over the world.
All this is what makes a Kombucha-based drink the perfect choice. Its tangy flavours gave us the opportunity to design packaging bursting with the colours of summer for a gift that reflects the latest passion for healthy alternatives from the past.
The Kombucha story
No one’s entirely certain where Kombucha comes from – maybe Russia, maybe China – just that it has been around for a very long time. Until recently this sour fizzy drink made from sweetened black tea and fermented with a combination of yeast and bacteria has been thought of as a weird alternative health drink.
Not anymore. What has launched Kombucha into the mainstream has been its association with a healthy lifestyle: it’s low in sugar, calories and caffeine and therefore a healthy alternative to fizzy drinks and alcohol. Other claims range from assisting with weight loss, alleviating heartburn and indigestion, and boosting the immune system to curing cancer and baldness.
So what’s driving the popularity of products like Kombucha? Quite simply, the noise being made by the healthy lifestyle enthusiasts, medical professionals and greenies is finally starting to drown out the relentless blare from the artificial, mass produced, sugar/calory-rich fast food and soft drink industry.
Interestingly, it is as much the perception as the reality of the health benefits that we’re keen on. For Kombucha and many similar foods, other than containing less sugar and caffeine than other drinks, none of the benefits are proven – and we don’t seem to mind.
So what else is on the horizon?
Food and drink trends for 2015 include products and techniques that add flavour without adding fat, such as fermented products like Kombucha, smoked foods and ‘old world’ cooking techniques, and a focus on less waste, including ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables and eating the whole animal – nose to tail.
What to do with your kombucha
To enjoy the health benefits – both actual and perceived – well, drink it of course. But if you don’t fancy it just the way it comes, here are a couple of cocktail recipes to change it up, since it’s the season for celebrating.
Kombucha Peach Daiquiri (courtesy of Yahoo!)
- 6 medium fresh peaches, skinned and pitted or 20 ounces canned peaches, sliced
- 4 Tbsp evaporated cane sugar
- 2 Tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) vodka
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) dark rum
- 1 cup (8 ounces) plain kombucha
- 2 cups ice
Add the peaches, sugar, orange juice concentrate, vodka, rum, and kombucha in a blender and blend until well mixed, about 5 seconds.
If desired, add additional alcohol and sugar to taste, then add the ice and blend until smooth.
Divide into four glasses and serve.
Ginger kombucha cocktails (courtesy of Love and Lemons)
- Crushed ice
- Ginger kombucha (any brand)
Fill a small glass with crushed ice. Pour in 1 part vodka and 1 part kombucha (or whatever ratio you like).
Add a few sprigs of mint and a lemon slice.
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