Welcome to Like A Virgin, a column in which we recommend a different zero-ABV drink each week. They’re not “near beers,” they’re not “mocktails”—they’re delicious beverages that anyone and everyone should try at least once. Got an idea for a future Like A Virgin column? Email us at [email protected].
GT’s was the first beverage brand to ever convince me that not all kombucha tasted like battery acid mixed with moldy jam, and that slurping down a bottle of gelatinous chia seeds could be an exhilarating (if odd) sensory experience. Last year it introduced a new line of sparkling probiotic beverages called Aqua Kefir Living Water, which it touted as “the go-to functional beverage for pre- and post-workout hydration” for “health-minded fitness enthusiasts and their thirst-quenching needs.” Currently I identify with exactly zero words in those sentences, and might never have noticed Aqua Kefir at all had the company not offered to send me a few bottles to try out. Though my lifestyle as of late has been more stuffed crust than spin class, GT’s is a wellness-focused brand that has earned my trust, and I was more than happy to let these bottles of benevolent bacteria have a go at my wonky, stressed-out gut.
I cannot tell you whether Aqua Kefir did anything positive for my body, but I can tell you that it might be the best beverage GT’s has ever produced. It is nothing like the yogurt-esque dairy-based drink I normally associate with the word “kefir.” Water kefir is an entirely different drink, made with different ingredients (water, juice, and sugar) and cultures (tibicos). When these ingredients are mixed together and left to their own devices for a few days, they create a fizzy, bubbly beverage that drinks almost like a sparkling fruit wine, but without the alcohol. I had anticipated Aqua Kefir to be kombucha-esque and “new to me,” but I was wrong on both counts; instead, I realized it was essentially a drink I’ve had hundreds of times: tepache.
Tepache is one of the many culinary gifts we’ve been given from the indigenous peoples of Mexico, who centuries ago discovered they were surrounded by yeasts capable of doing wondrous things with fruit. Tepache, specifically, is made with pineapple, but with tibicos and time, just about any fruit can be turned into a similar, electrically effervescent beverage.
GT’s Aqua Kefir is available in five flavors—Ginger Lime, Pomegranate, Peach Pineapple, Coconut Mint, and Orange Peach Mango—and they’re all superlatively delicious straight out of the bottle. As a cocktail ingredient, they go great with a shot of non-alcoholic tequila or rum, or unique zero-proof spirits that are spicy or smokey. This fermented fruity fizzer will satisfy your thirst-quenching needs, whether you’re a health-minded fitness enthusiast or not.