BY ALISON BAILIN BATZ
THE BEE’S KNEES
Wild Tonic Hard Jun Kombucha harnesses the sweet, smooth, sanative properties of honey
Many artists wax poetic, but painter Holly Lyman is far more literal. For a number of years, the longtime Northern Arizona resident worked in encaustic art, a style of painting where one uses hot wax. Lyman’s wax of choice: heated beeswax. As she began to work in the medium more regularly, she became impassioned by all that bees do for the world beyond contributing to her art as the pollination from honey bees in the United States contributes to more than 150 crops, including those that grow coffee, chocolate, watermelon, and avocado. Lyman began studying the decline of the bee population and ways to advocate for it, which led to her creating a honey-based kombucha called Jun in the 2010s. “Traditional kombucha is a fermented tea drink made with processed cane sugar and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) that bursts with amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and enzymes. It, however, often has a somewhat sour flavor profile,” Lyman says. “My recipe still uses the tea and SCOBY, as well as natural herbs, fruit and botanicals, but substituting the sugar for organic honey gives it a more palate-pleasing, refreshing effervescence.” By 2015, with that recipe as the base and honey as her not-sosecret ingredient, Wild Tonic was born in Cottonwood and quickly earned national distribution. Today, there are three variations of the brand including a nonalcoholic line as well as two spirited takes – Wild Tonic Hard Jun Kombucha 5.6% ABV and Wild Tonic Hard Jun Kombucha 7.6% ABV Reserve. Wild Tonic 5.6% ABV is currently available in seven flavors: Raspberry Goji Rose; Blueberry Basil; Mango Ginger; Strawberry Blood Orange; Blackberry Mint; Tropical Turmeric; and Hoppy Buzz, which is dry hopped to create a delicate fruitiness and give citrus-forward notes. The Wild Tonic Hard Jun Kombucha 7.6% ABV Reserve is available in two varieties: Dancing Naked, which features jammy notes of zinfandel; and Wild Love, a delectable combination of luscious blackberry and elegant lavender. Each serving of any Wild Tonic product contains more than a billion probiotics and prebiotics. In addition, there is no gluten, added sulfites or artificial flavorings in any of the lines. “Prebiotics are a type of dietary fiber. You could think of them as a sort of fertilizer for the good bacteria in your gut, more or less feeding the probiotics so they can do their job helping keep you healthy,” Lyman says. “We also grow many of our own organic herbs, cultivate ginger plants and grow our own grapes to use in recipes right here in Arizona.” Currently, Wild Tonic is available in 45 states at natural health food stores, major retail chains and exclusive restaurants and resorts including Four Seasons, Emeril Lagasse’s family of restaurants and Canyon Ranch. Locally, it is available at Sprouts, Safeway and Whole Foods as well as on the brand’s website (www.wildtonic. com) for shipping or local delivery and on Instacart, Amazon, Favor, Postmates, Uber Eats, and the Holiday Wine Cellar.
So Scottsdale! January ‘21