Regular readers will know that I love decadent versions of healthful, fermented drinks. I made quite a few delightfully decadent drinks for my water kefir class last week, which was a blessing and a curse. I had to cancel the class at the last minute, which left me with 10 water kefir kits, partially assembled, a gallon of water kefir grains, and 3 gallons of water kefir of various flavors. There were plenty of well-tested recipes, but also a few things I threw in, just for fun. This is the “just for fun” recipe that turned out way better than expected. It is now on the repeat request list (I’m 10 batches in two weeks after I first made it) and I have a feeling I”ll be making a batch at least weekly until death does part my husband and I.
It’s easy to make, too. I was initially concerned that the addition of alcohol (in the form of vanilla extract) might make the oh-so-desirable water kefir fizz fizzle out. As it turns out, not at all. This little bit of vanilla didn’t seem to change a whole lot other than making the flavor rich and creamy, like a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows.
Speaking of creamy, ever wonder where the “cream” in “cream soda” comes from? It’s vanilla! From my past working with some serious vanilla folks, I know firsthand that there are many, many variations in vanilla flavor, some creamier than others. If you’re making your own vanilla extract, I recommend a blend of beans from Madagascar and Uganda for uniquely wonderful flavors. My preferred version of this is made with vanilla extract I made with rum, but any vanilla extract, including store-bought, will do just fine.