Mushroom Sip: Beyond Tea, Discover the Benefits of Infused Beverages

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Mushrooms are having a moment. From mushroom coffee to reishi lattes, fungi are popping up in beverages across cafe menus. But mushroom-based drinks aren’t new by any means. Medicine men and herbalists have been brewing mushrooms for centuries for their healing properties as well as flavor.

Now, innovative mixologists, brewers, and chefs are rediscovering mushroom elixirs and experimenting with new blends that excite and intrigue modern palates. Non-alcoholic options are also on the rise, appealing to wellness seekers and mycophiles alike. So whether you’re a devoted tea drinker looking to expand your fungal horizons or simply ‘shroom-curious, read on to sip and reap the benefits of mushroom mixology.

Mushrooms Meet Mixology

Mushrooms impart far more than umami flavor to food and drink. Rich in polysaccharides, antioxidants, and immunity-enhancing compounds, edible and medicinal mushroom varieties deliver functional wellness perks, including:

  • Anti-inflammatory effects
  • Immune support
  • Energy enhancement
  • Neuroprotective properties
  • Liver protection & detoxification
  • Antiviral & antimicrobial actions

When extracted into concentrated liquid preparations, these health benefits become more bioavailable and fast-acting. That’s why medicinal mushrooms like reishi, cordyceps, lion’s mane, and chaga are surging as functional ingredients in various beverages.

Paired with complementary fruits, herbs, botanicals, and spices in creative combinations, mushroom extracts add intrigue along with vital nutrients. Bartenders are concocting mushroom-spiked cocktails tea to meet the demand for artisanal, locally sourced ingredients and health-conscious hedonism in one glass.

Likewise, cold-pressed juiceries and specialty cafes are blending reishi and chaga into frothy lattes and chilled elixirs as mood-enhancing alternatives to coffee and tea. Ready-to-drink mushroom beverages are also hitting store shelves, offering portable wellness for today’s on-the-go lifestyles.

Let’s raise a glass to the mighty mushroom and sample some of the innovative infusion ideas reinventing modern mixology.

Tea Time, Leveled Up

Beyond Tea

We’ll start with the basics. For centuries, folk medicine traditions from Russia to China have recognized hot water extractions of bitter mushrooms like chaga and reishi for their anti-aging and immunity-boosting effects. Simmering hardy mushrooms into broths, teas, and grain alcohol preparations helps release precious polysaccharides and antioxidants.

Lucky for us, artisanal mushroom teas take all the work out of DIY decoctions. Companies like Four Sigmatic offer instant chai, matcha, and coffee blends featuring chaga, cordyceps, reishi and lion’s mane extracts just waiting to be activated with hot water. For the sleep-deprived, nighttime blends with stress-busting adaptogens like ashwagandha are a gift.

For the experimenter, adjustable dual extraction kits provide pure mushroom extract drops to customize tea, coffee, broths, or smoothies. If you want to geek out on the science, Four Sigma’s new dual-chamber Fruiting Body Mini-Mushroom Mixer allows operation like a chemist to unlock each mushroom’s full potential. Expect more functional mushroom tea catering to brain health, energy, immunity, and calming relaxation in fun flavor fusions coming down the pike.

Coffee Meets Cordyceps

Do you love the lift coffee brings but not the afternoon letdown? Mushroom-infused coffees are gaining buzz by blending the stimulant power of coffee beans with energizing nootropic (cognition-enhancing) mushrooms like cordyceps and lion’s mane.

Cordyceps offset caffeine jitters with anti-inflammatory antioxidants like cordycepin, while lion’s mane promotes sustained energy and mental clarity. Plus, biologically active mushroom polysaccharides temper coffee’s acidity for a smoother sip and reap.

Pioneering brands like Rebbl, Four Sigmatic, and Omica Organics deserve kudos for the early innovation of mushroom coffee blends that sparked mass interest. Now smaller roasters are joining in, loading Fair Trade beans with dual extracts in creative combinations – think chaga mocha, matcha mint chip, or chocolate oat milk psyllium husk mixes for gut health perks too.

Some mushroom coffees stick to pure mycelium powder while others end up with mushroom broths. So whether you want to gently wean caffeine dependence or fortify your coffee habit with function, mushroom coffee alternatives deliver.

Botanical Mushroom Pairings

Mushrooms’ earthy, bitter complexity plays nicely with bright, botanically forward flavors to balance taste profiles. Ginger, turmeric, Rhodiola rosea, and tart cherry make frequent cameos in mushroom beverages for their anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. Likewise, mushrooms accent tropical botanicals like curcuminoids, pineapple, citrus, tart cherries, acai, camu camu, and beetroot.

Adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha, maca, ginseng, tulsi (holy basil), licorice root, and medicinal mushrooms also fuse nicely. Their stress-modulating effects work synergistically with mushrooms’ neurotransmitter-modulating nature. Sample exotic botanical mushroom fusions from Jeff Marquart, founder of certified organic mixer line Owl’s Brew who recently launched a reishi tulsi tea crafted for calm, focused energy all day.

“I was introduced to reishi in Thailand a decade ago and was blown away by its flavor and functional benefits,” says Marquart. “Tulsi has been used in Ayurvedic teas for thousands of years to work synergistically with mushrooms, so we knew it would beautifully complement reishi’s rich flavor.”

Sustainably sourced from a mountainous region in China, the certified USDA organic reishi marries tulsi grown biodynamically at the Owl’s Brew farm. Sweetened lightly with birch bark xylitol, it makes a soothing caffeine-free alternative to coffee and black tea.

Shrooms Go Boozy

Alcoholic drinks and mushrooms share cultural histories and were used medicinally and ceremonially by early civilizations. Today, mushroom elixirs are getting a new look as inventive mixologists explore backyard foraging and holistic wellness in liquid artistry.

“Incorporating local, wild harvested mushrooms creates seasonal craft cocktails aligned with the land’s wisdom and natural remedy,” says Adam Dean Bernbach, bar director of Nimbus Arts ecological venue in New York. Last fall, his farmers’ market-inspired menu featured a reishi old fashioned with wild cherry bark vanilla bitters and chanterelle mushroom fat-washed bourbon. He also shakes lacto-fermented honey fungus into sours and features an ice-filtered lion’s mane liqueur.

“As people learn more about mushrooms’ nutritional and brain benefits, they want to access those properties without alcohol,” Bernbach notes. Thus, his non-alcoholic beverages often feature dual-extracted mushroom teas on tap. “Blending reishi in particular has this incredible effect of grounding energy and mood nicely without sedation.”

Other environ-minded mixologists follow suit, like Aaron Polsky of Harvard & Stone in Los Angeles, who stocks over 30 regional honeys to mix wild harvested mushrooms into seasonal bee-centric drinks. Justin Chearno of Alchemy by Vocation serves meditative cacao, reishi, and maca elixir for a “cosmic hug in a mug” at his all-vegan cafe in Bushwick.

Mainstream Movements

From boozy to buzz-free, leading beverage brands are embracing functional mushrooms in ready-to-sip servings. Runa leads the pack with its Clean Energy line featuring tiger’s milk (a vitamin C-rich Amazonian fruit) with energizing Guayusa leaf, schisandra berry, and 120mg of organic cordyceps. Rebbl makes several mushroom brews like its Reishi Cacao Coconut for destressing and Golden Milk adaptogen potion with reishi.

Oregon’s Humm Kombucha adds adaptogens and mushroom extracts into probiotic-rich fizz. Trendsetter BluePrint Cleanse launched a skin-clarifying Beauty Juice blend of phytonutrient-rich produce and reishi. You can even opt for mushroom jerky drinking vinegar and non-alcoholic spirit alternatives featuring foraged fungi.

With DIY culture thriving, expect more shelf-stable mushroom extracts for at-home mixology of mocktails to coffeehouse-quality beverages too. As studies continue affirming nutritional mushrooms’ benefits, creative innovation will continue elevating fungi far beyond average Joe drinks.

Sip Your Mushroom Future

Whatever your pleasure, there’s a mushroom beverage primed to elevate your rituals with restorative function. Once preserved for royalty, mushrooms’ mythical status is being restored by forward-looking foodies and health-seekers. While ancient medicine understood mushrooms’ sensory gifts long before modern science identified their mechanisms, one truth remains unwavering. Beyond flavor, mushrooms impart profoundly nourishing gifts for aligned living. Now it’s your turn to sip and reap.

In the contemporary landscape of culinary trends and wellness pursuits, mushrooms have gracefully taken center stage, not just as a culinary delight but as a key player in the world of beverages. From mushroom coffee to reishi lattes, these fungi have found a place on cafe menus and are captivating the taste buds of the health-conscious and the curious alike. However, the fusion of mushrooms and drinks is a concept that has deep roots in traditional medicine and herbal practices, where mushrooms were brewed for both their healing properties and distinctive flavors.

The article concludes by inviting readers to explore the vast and evolving world of mushroom-infused beverages, emphasizing that there’s a mushroom beverage suited for every preference. It recognizes the restoration of mushrooms’ mythical status by contemporary food enthusiasts and health-seekers, acknowledging that beyond their flavor, mushrooms offer profoundly nourishing gifts for aligned living. As ancient wisdom and modern science converge, individuals are encouraged to sip and reap the benefits of this mushroom renaissance, unlocking the restorative functions that mushrooms bring to our rituals and well-being.

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