Featured photo by Elena Wolfe Photography
A trio of Blue Hill alums put their heads together and the result is a flavorful kombucha driven by the seasons.
Julio Enriquez was experimenting with fermentation and nearing the end of his 16-year stint as bar manager at Blue Hill at Stone Barns when he caught the attention of his boss. “One taste of Julio’s delicious kombucha and I knew he had nailed it,” says chef/co-owner Dan Barber. “His immeasurable talent mixed with good ingredients led to a fantastic outcome.”
That “booch” became so synonymous with the Blue Hill experience that when COVID hit, it was bottled for inclusion in the restaurant’s successful pandemic to-go boxes. Enriquez teamed up with former service director Ronald Rufino and former events manager Alanna Ledesma who saw the potential for the kombucha to stand on its own.
Kombucha is a fermented, sweet black tea that devotees tout for its (unproven) health benefits including everything from weight loss to diabetes management, reduced risk of heart disease, and even prevention of certain cancers.
“I like kombucha because I’ve experienced its health benefits firsthand but couldn’t always get down with the flavor of products that were on the market,” says Enriquez. “I knew I needed well-balanced, unique flavors that tasted good if I was going to make this healthier choice for myself.” He adds, “I’m glad I decided to make my own and so is my gut.”
Feel Good Booch’s kombucha features ingredients that are mainly sourced from local farms and grown “at the moment,” meaning a preferred flavor might not always be in stock. “Hopefully you trust us enough and are swayed to try new combinations,” says Enriquez. Currently there are seven to choose from, including: Peruvian purple corn, pineapple, and cinnamon; heirloom carrot, passion fruit, and lime leaf; and elderberry, blood orange, and ginger. More flavors are planned, all fruit- and vegetable-forward, and timed to the seasons.
Operating out of a commercial kitchen in Peekskill (and with head brewer, Drew Eline, managing daily production), Feel Good Booch is available at all DeCicco & Sons locations, specialty shops and farmers’ markets throughout Westchester, and at eateries, including: Root2Rise in Pleasantville, Grass Roots Kitchen in Tarrytown, Café Deux in Harrison, and Pelham’s Caffè Ammi Roasting Co. Some spots, like Town House in New Rochelle, are swirling it into cocktails or selling it by the glass
Feel Good Booch