Create Your Own Spicy Culture

Zeal Bloody Mary

Kick up the zip and flavor of this classic cocktail with spicy kimchi, a fermented cabbage recipe from Korea. Kimchi is also rich in probiotics, the friendly bacteria that bolster gut health. Recipe provided by Zeal in Boulder, Colorado, a restaurant with a unique focus on fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha. Kimchi also makes an excellent accompaniment to meals featuring proteins, greens and rice.


Zeal’s Zippy Fermented Bloody Mary

1.5 oz house-infused or homemade Jalapeño Garlic Vodka (recipe below)
3 oz tomato juice
1.5 oz kimchi juice (recipe below)

Shake the vodka, tomato juice and kimchi juice in a shaker with ice. Rim a glass with black pepper AND salt. Pour drink into glass; garnish with lime and celery.


Jalapeño Garlic Vodka

Make the Jalapeño Garlic Vodka at least two days in advance:
For every 750 ml bottle of “farm-to-bottle” vodka (we use Bone Spirits vodka), add one sliced jalapeño and 3–4 cloves of garlic. Let the batch sit for two days, strain the vodka into a bottle, and it’s ready!



1 lb napa cabbage or bok choy, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, sliced
2 onions, leeks or scallions, chopped
3–4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
3–4 hot red chilies (or more, depending on desired heat)
3 Tbs fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 Tbs fish sauce, optional
Sea salt


    • Mix 4 cups water to 4 Tbs salt to create a brine. Add cabbage and carrots; let veggies soak in brine covered by some weight (a plate works). Keep overnight.

    • Remove seeds from chilies, chop and crush, or throw them in whole for a spicier kimchi. Mix onions, garlic, ginger and chilies into a paste. Add fish sauce if desired.

    • Drain brine off the veggies, reserving the brine. Taste to see how salty the kimchi is; if too salty, rinse the veggies. Mix veggies thoroughly with the ginger, chilies, onion and garlic paste and pack in quart-size liter jar. Pack tightly until brine rises, then add more brine to submerge the veggies. Ferment in your kitchen or warm area; taste every day.

    • After a week, move to the fridge. It’s ready to use.