If your experience with tea cocktails hasn’t gone any further than a Long Island Iced Tea (which contains no actual tea and was so named because of its resemblance to iced tea), there is a world of delicious beverages out there to explore. Tea has the elegance and subtlety of many of the best grain alcohols, and as a result finds itself tailor-made for the world of cocktails.
Flavors Made for Each Other
The natural marriage of tea and alcohol shouldn’t really come as a surprise. Both explore many of the same areas of the palate—bitter, sweet, sour, herbal, even savory—and consequently feature a similar range of flavors. How could lemon tea have any qualms about partnering with triple sec? What could be a better fit with your chocolate mint tea than a splash of Baileys Irish Cream? Once you begin thinking about tea as a cocktail mixer, the possibilities are endless.
Tea and alcohol complement each other chemically, as well. Like coffee, many teas contain caffeine—a stimulant. Alcohol is a depressant, which lowers or reduces arousal or stimulation in various areas of the brain. Taken together, it’s possible the consumer really can “have it both ways”—she can benefit from becoming slightly more alert while also becoming more relaxed. It’s no wonder coffee cocktails and tea cocktails are fast becoming the latest “nightcap” of choice.
Recipes for Delicious Tea Cocktails
Here is one recipe each for black, green and herbal teas. Enjoy!
Black Tea: The Earl Grey Tea Cocktail (adapted from Sugar and Charm)
Brew tea. Make the honey simple syrup, which is a ratio of 5 parts water to 1 part honey. Bring to a simmer until honey has dissolved, then cool in the fridge. Add all of the above ingredients into a cocktail shaker, with 2 sprigs lavender and ice. Shake several times. Strain the cocktail into a glass over one large ice cube. Garnish with lavender.
Green Tea: Iced Green Tea Mojito (adapted from the Kitchn)
Muddle the lime juice, mint, arugula, and sugar together in a tall Collins glass until the leaves bruise lightly and the flavors release. Add ice until glass is about 3/4 full and then pour in rum and green tea. Stir well and garnish with mint and lime.
Herbal Tea: The Jasmine Martini
Infuse tea in vodka for five minutes. Add vermouth to a glass and then add the vodka/tea infusion. Garnish with lemon twist.