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Drink of the Week: Lavender Blackberry Kombucha from West Columbia’s Lil Duck

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$35 for a gallon (includes reusable growler). 803-708-0476.

Drink options around Columbia are limited in the days of COVID-19. Restaurants and bars are closed for dine-in, and we don’t have the ability to grab to-go cocktails. Many breweries and bottle shops are out of crowler cans with the national supply depleted, and many are not accepting growlers from home for refills due to health concerns.

So this week, we decided to look at a non-alcoholic drink option that also just might provide some health benefits: kombucha. Specifically, kombucha brewed in West Columbia — with delivery options within the Midlands — by Lil Duck Kombucha.

Their searingly bright green trailer is a staple at Soda City Market and other outdoor gatherings around town. But with such options shut down for the foreseeable future, Lil Duck is finding new ways to get this health-forward elixir in the hands of people who may not have even heard of this fermented tea drink. If you’re among the uninitiated, it’s often flavored with a variety of fruits, herbs and spices, and is hailed as an immune-booster.

“While washing your hands and keeping social distance is very important, so is good gut health,” posits Lil Duck co-owner Debey Hancock, who is also a functional nutritionist. “There is nothing that will prevent you from getting any illness but kombucha is a cornerstone of good health, an aid and a defense.”

Lil Duck Kombucha’s current flavor offerings include Blackberry Lavender, Gingerberry Joy, Raspberry Gingerale, Very Berry Limeade, Tropical Sunset, Shockwave (lemon, ginger and turmeric), and Naked & Hopped Up (a plain kombucha flavored with Citra hops for IPA lovers).

Kombucha is a bit tart, in the vein of lemonade or sour beers. Some flavors can be more tart than others, but Hancock recommends the Very Berry Limeade for those who might be trying kombucha for the first time. I also recommend the Lavender Blackberry, which I recently purchased.

To help with social distancing, Lil Duck is doing deliveries for any orders of one gallon of kombucha or more to most areas in the Midlands, from Blythewood to Lexington and everywhere in between. Hancock recommends people drink four ounces of kombucha before each meal to help with digestion. Kombucha, when refrigerated, can last for a long time, and its self-carbonating properties mean it will retain at least some of its signature fizziness.

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