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Beyond kombucha: botanical fermented beverages and alcoholic botanical fermented beverages

From herbs to fermented beverages like kombucha (including alcoholic botanical ferments!) is a short and wild walk.

Wild as sudden lighting, short because from the very beginning of our project we did not envision Wilden.herbals  to set any limits entering the world of medicinal plants, herbs and spices.

This is the idea behind Frècc, a line of botanical fermented drinks, in collaboration with Latta, fermenti e miscele, which includes 3 products: Frècc Boost, Frècc Digestive and Frècc Hangover. Frècc’s story has opened us wide horizons on the possibilities offered by fermented herbal drinks and pushed us towards daring territories such as alcoholic botanical fermented ones.

With this article we want to recount how Frècc came to be: what kombucha is, the differences between botanical fermented beverages and alcoholic botanical fermented beverages, revealing the behind the scenes of the collaboration with Latta per Frècc.

A drink called kombucha: what it is, benefits and origins

Kombucha is a fermented drink based on tea and sugar produced with a SCOBY (an English acronym that stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). It is also called the “mother of kombucha” or “tea mushroom” and comes in the form of gelatinous discs. The SCOBY transforms the sugar mixture into kombucha through a fermentation process that makes the drink sparkling.

Kombucha is a real panacea for the intestine and digestion: it is rich in vitamins, probiotics but also in antioxidants that fight free radicals. Its antibacterial and antifungal properties are a blessing against infections.

It has actually been known as a cure-all since 220 BC: kombucha first traces date back to the north-east of China. Legend has it that it owes its name to Dr. Kombu, a Korean doctor who brought the drink to the Japanese emperor Inyoko who happened to appreciate it so much that he consecrated it as an elixir of life.

Let’s dive into botanical fermented drinks: Frècc Boost and Frècc Digestive

The link between kombucha and the world of herbs is the botanical fermented drinks. The beneficial bacterial cultures typical of kombucha are used in this case to ferment an infusion of organic medicinal plants made of our herbal teas with our recipes, together with sugar and water.

This is the method and the procedure to create our very own Frècc Boost and Frècc Digestive. Highly drinkable and with a persistent aroma, these botanical fermented drinks keep all the healing and nutritional properties of kombucha intact. Frècc Boost with ginger, pepper, orange and lemongrass is the energizer you were looking for in can format; Frècc Digestive with licorice, fennel, ginger, sage, rosemary and mint is a refreshing discovery that keeps on giving sip after sip.

What are botanical alcoholic fermented products: Frècc Hangover

Experimentation on fermented beverages with herbs breaks new ground with new botanical fermented spirits other than wine, beer or cider.

The key to the preparation is the matching between yeasts and infusions of the officinal plants: it all begins with an acid fermentation starter (called sour mash in jargon) based on barley malt and wheat malt, to which the infusion is added (our Remedium n ° 4 – Hangover) and organic sugar.

Frècc Hangover is an absolutely unconventional drink, born from the acid fermentation that transforms sugars into alcohol. With pungent and herbaceous notes of ginger and gentian, its taste can recall a refermented wine : we recommend sipping it chilled or as a base in mixology.

Wilden.herbals and Latta for Frècc: behind the scenes of the collaboration

From the very beginning we have given shape to Wilden.herbals with a specific will: to create a natural and completely new imagery through herbal drinks. Our project has a strong link with the slow rhythms of nature and botany but it succeeds, renewing itself, in intercepting new rites and habits.

Fermented drinks were undoubtedly a territory we wanted to explore, especially after a trip to Estonia in 2019 where one of our founders, Nicola Robecchi, encountered the great local tradition of fermenting medicinal plants for beverages. In the following months the question arose almost naturally: what if we tried to combine fermentation with the infusion of our herbs?

While brewing these ideas in our mind during the spring of 2020, when Covid kept us at home, we were lucky enough to come across Leonardo di Vincenzo. Leonardo is a great creative in the world of fermented drinks as well as the driving force, together with the Jerry Thomas’ team, of Latta, fermenti e miscele, a Roman venue with restaurant, cocktail bar and a fermentation laboratory. It was exactly our ideal landing point to experiment with Mixology and other new projects.

As Leonardo di Vincenzo tells: “A mutual friend introduced me to Nicola and his team, youngsters who live in hectic Milan but have decided to focus on slowness, herbs and nature. Hence the desire to get closer to the world of herbal teas with the very beginning of experiments on atypical fermentations in cans .”

At the end of July 2020 the first tests begin with 3 recipes starting from 3 Remedia: Boost, Digestive and Hangover. The first tastings amaze and fascinate us so much that we decide, together with Leonardo, to make these tests available on draft tin. These beverages became immediately popular,  and over the months they proved to be stable, with good acidity and a persistent aroma, ready for a future “bottling” in a 33 cl can – a sustainable format with an urban flavor in a limited edition, to seal the experimental nature of this new adventure.

This is how Frècc came to be: an innovative drink, with an original taste characterized by the high quality of every single ingredient. Now it’s finally the time to share them: find Frècc in our shop.