Dalai Sofia Kombucha

What’s that? Kombucha devotees already credit the fermented tea with fighting off illness and constipation (according to the Mayo Clinic, scientists are still studying the actual scope of its benefits). But the makers of Dalai Sofia believe that’s just the beginning of their drinks’ potential.

Of the newly released Lil’ Peach, founder Emily Phillips says, “Its ingredient list is targeted at summertime ailments: Peach has wonderful cooling effects on the body, while holy basil is great for anxiety, and mint and rose petals are very soothing. We’re hoping this flavor says ‘chill out.’”

Phillips grew up in Maine, where she managed a farm that supplied meat and vegetables to a Japanese restaurant group. Her business partner, Zach Smith, has worked primarily as a bartender. “We each fell in love with how we felt after incorporating ferment into our lives,” Phillips says of their decision to leave the Virgin Islands and launch Dalai Sofia in Charleston.

In addition to a variety of kombucha flavors, Dalai Sofia also makes jun. Similar to kombucha, it’s fed on green tea and honey instead of black tea and sugar.

Who recommends it? David Axelrod, Pancito & Lefty’s beverage director

Why? Axelrod recognizes a fellow bartender’s concern for balance in all of the beverages that Dalai Sofia has developed. “They’re not overly bitter or overly sweet,” he says. Instead, he describes the drinks as “refreshing,” an adjective he also applies to the company’s wholehearted commitment to using local ingredients.

Where is it? Dalai Sofia currently sells its wares at the farmers markets in Mount Pleasant, Folly Beach and West Ashley. To learn more, visit dalaisofia.com

— Hanna Raskin

Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.

Food editor and chief critic

Eating all of the chicken livers just as fast as I can.