Welcome to Like A Virgin, a new column in which we’ll recommend a different zero-ABV drink each week. They’re not “near beers,” they’re not “mocktails”—they’re delicious beverages that anyone and everyone should try at least once. Got an idea for a future Like A Virgin column? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve spent many years trying, and failing, to like kombucha, developing a massive distrust of it with each and every unpalatable sip. But this year, after well over a decade of disappointment, I was finally able to let go of all my deeply held ill feelings in a span of a few weeks, first by falling in love with Aqua ViTea Kombucha, and then by discovering The Takeout’s latest Non-Alcoholic Drink of the Week: Agua Bucha, a kombucha-infused sparkling water that tastes like summer in a can.
Agua Bucha comes in three sunshine-bright citrus varieties: lemon, grapefruit, and key lime. Fitting choices, since kombucha’s biting, fermented acidity cannot possibly be disguised or covered up. By pairing it with organic citrus extracts, Mother Kombucha—the beloved brand behind Agua Bucha—leans into those occasionally off-putting, mouth-puckering qualities, creating a beverage that tastes fresh and vibrant. It reminds me of one of my favorite (albeit boring) drinks: club soda with a few fat wedges of fresh lemon, its tart juices wrung out in excess, its zest imparting notes of sunshine, its pith adding a slight undercurrent of bitterness. By spiking sparkling water with citrus and kombucha, Agua Bucha delivers those same sorts of flavors and amplifies them tenfold.
Unlike many previous darlings in our Like a Virgin column, Agua Bucha is not for special-occasion sipping or savoring—this is a casual drink that makes me wish I was drinking it poolside or while lying on the beach, running my toes through the hot sand. It also claims to be good for me, with only 4 calories, 1 gram of sugar, and 2200% (!) of our daily recommended vitamin B12. I’m more than happy to accept that into my body, as well as the other “healthy organic acids” the can touts. But I’m not drinking Agua Bucha to get svelte or cheat death. I’m drinking it because it’s July levels of delicious.