This Kefir Gin Fizz is light and refreshing, with notes of citrus from Meyer lemon juice and orange blossom water, and an ethereal effervescence that dances on your tongue with each sip. But wait…kefir? As in, the probiotic tangy drink next to the yogurts at the grocery store, kefir? Yep, that’s the one. I expect this might sound vile to some of you. Until you try it! It is the best. The creaminess and tang of yogurt or kefir adds amazing body and flavor dimensions to cocktails. Search “yogurt cocktail” or “kefir cocktail” and you will see many variations. People have been imbibing on them for years. However, in this case, my inspiration for this cocktail goes way back to the OG creamy cocktail of my youth...
Yokult Soju. Do you know it? Maybe, but probably not.
It is a popular Korean drink, probably consumed most often inside darkened karaoke rooms or Korean bars, by a specific demographic i.e. those who hung out a lot inside said karaoke rooms or bars (like me, in my 20s hehe). Oh do allow me to tell you about it…
Yokult is a sweet fermented milk drink created in Japan back in the 30’s. And soju is the clear Korean distilled liquor most similar to sake or vodka. When you mix Yokult and soju together - sweet is balanced with bitter, with dimensions of creaminess and effervescence - it is ridiculous good. The kind of good that falls under the category of ‘gateway drinks’ like Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Sex On The Beach, Fuzzy Navel, Rum and Coke, and bahaha I’m actually laughing out loud remembering these drinks. You get the idea, I think? They’re easy to drink, basically.
Today’s older and wiser me realizes that particular fermented milk drink is mega loaded with sugar…the glucose-fructose and sucrose variety. No thank you. My more mature palette also prefers drinks that are not overpowered with sweetness via juices or syrups, so I can still taste the alcohol, gin, in this case. Which is why I strongly recommend using a quality gin. No bar rail liquors aka the cheap stuff please - you deserve better than that!
Just like how I love reinventing indulgent desserts into healthier versions all the time, I wanted to do something similar with this cocktail.
So I made us this drink that I consider an adult version of the Yokult Soju of my long ago days, with a nod to the North American classic Ramos Gin Fizz by way of a few drops of orange blossom water in the recipe. I swap in kefir which has the effervescence quality like Yokult. Do make sure your kefir is fresh for maximum bubbly-ness! The fermentation bubbles tend to subside over days after opening. By the way, kefir has typically three times the probiotic (healthy gut bacteria) as regular yogurt, making this practically a health drink. You can tell your friends that hehe.
To keep it dairy-free, I used coconut kefir. The coconut kefir imparts a slightly coconut taste, in a piña colada sort of way, which is pretty awesome. Use regular kefir if dairy is not an issue.
The Montellier carbonated natural spring water, along with the kefir, create a delightful effervescent mouth-feel when you sip it. Montellier carbonated natural spring water is #MadeByCanada sourced from Quebec, and is giving the perfect #festivefizz to this cocktail! This will be my go-to drink this holiday season because I’m feeling all the nostalgic feels over it.
Bring on the merry!
Kefir Gin Fizz Cocktail
Recipe makes 1 serving.
2 oz (1/4 C) gin
1/2 oz (1 tbsp) fresh Meyer lemon or regular lemon juice
2 tbsp plain unsweetened coconut kefir, or cow's milk kefir if dairy is not an issue *Note 1
1 tbsp superfine sugar
3-4 drops orange blossom water
2-3 oz chilled Montellier carbonated natural spring water
Thinly sliced lemons and orange peel, garnish
*Note 1: Don't choose a kefir labeled "non-effervescent". Use freshly-opened kefir for maximum effervescence.
Place gin, lemon juice, kefir, sugar and orange blossom water into a large cocktail shaker with a few ice cubes. Shake vigorously for 20 seconds until you get a bit of fizz from the kefir and everything is well-chilled and the sugar is fully dissolved. Remove the lid gingerly (there might be some air pressure from the kefir). Strain into a glass with fresh ice and top with chilled Montellier carbonated natural spring water. Garnish and serve. Enjoy responsibly!
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