Mezcal brand Madre uses two adaptogenic mushrooms, reishi and chaga, in its range of canned cocktails, Desert Water.
“Ayurvedic mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine for centuries,” says Chris Stephenson, CEO of Madre Mezcal, who notes that the Madre team strongly believes in the powers of plant medicine. “Beyond providing health benefits for some, adaptogenic mushrooms can also add a pleasant earthiness and bitterness to foods and beverages, which makes them appealing from an ingredient standpoint as well as a functional one.”
While crafting the Desert Water line, Madre’s team aimed to create unexpected flavor combinations without using sugary additives or artificial flavors. In the Mushroom, Sage, and Honey cocktail, for instance, Stephenson believes the “lovely earthiness” of reishi and chaga compliment the “herbaceous sage and slight sweetness from the honey,” all without overpowering the mezcal. It’s “a unique flavor that leaves a lasting impression,” he says.
For those who aren’t consuming alcohol, there are also booze-free mushroom drinks like Kin Euphorics’ Lightwave and the Little Saints line.
“Our ‘plant magic stack’ is a one-of-a-kind blend of reishi, CBD and uplifting terpenes,” says Megan Klein, Little Saints’ founder. “We combine these three sacred plants with special curative and spiritual properties to inspire a mood-lifting and delightfully sensory experience.”
Klein views these drinks on a long continuum of mushroom-based beverages.
“Traditional healers have used reishi, an adaptogenic mushroom, for centuries to boost resilience and promote a feeling of calm, which is why it’s a key component in our plant magic stack—and one of the main reasons you might feel a ‘take the edge off’ moment with every sip of Little Saints.”
That “magic stack” is part of each of Little Saints’ drinks, including the non-alcoholic spicy margarita and brunch-friendly mimosa and paloma. The brand worked with a food scientist who specialized in adaptogens to create a reishi extract that wouldn’t overwhelm the palate, Klein says.
“Reishi and many other ayurvedic mushrooms are special because they are an effective and natural means of achieving a balanced and calm emotional state… We believe that people are increasingly reaching for reishi and other ayurvedic mushrooms because it has a measurable impact on their overall anxiety levels and emotional well-being,” she says.