If you are looking to create a bit of a splash with your cocktails why not think about integrating a little Tea into the mix. With such a range of flavours from sweet to spicy Chai, Tea can be an ideal mixer, as it often creates a nuanced complexity.
Now while Tea might not seem like the most logical addition to your favourite libation, but it has a history that goes back centuries to mid-17th century Punches.
One of the easiest way to bring tea into your cocktail repertoire is by imparting it’s flavour into spirits.
Enjoy tea-infused spirits on their own, or combine with other ingredients to create divine and sophisticated cocktails. Add the infused alcohol to hot or cold tea drinks, or tea punch. Tea-infused vodka or gin is perfect for making martinis.
24 Hour Method: Add 2 tsp. of dry tea leaves to 2 cups of alcohol. Wait 24 hrs and then strain
the tea leaves out. (The exception to the 24 hr infusion time is green teas. Keep the infusion time for these to about 1 hr).
20 Minute Method: Add 6 tbsp. of dry tea leaves to 2 cups of alcohol. Wait 20 min and then strain the tea leaves out.
Now while most Teas will work with most spirits, there are some that are particular suited to one another – these are some of our favourites …
Black Tea & Rum
Black tea, including the classic English breakfast tea or orange pekoe, is the perfect accompaniment to rum. The perfect examples of this are cocktails like the Fish House Punch and Planter’s Punch. Rum’s natural sweetness rounds off black tea’s bitter edge, while other spirits like whiskey can sometimes accentuate that astringency.
Green Tea & Whiskey
We know that boozifying green tea negates many of its purported health benefits, but the flavor is worth it. Infuse Green Tea directly into Japanese Whisky can create an interesting take on a Whisky Highball. The tea adds a savoury, grassy quality to the Whisky that makes it ideal for pairing with food or sipping solo.
Mint Tea & Bourbon
Mint is one of the most versatile flavours in cocktails, so it makes sense to look to classic mint-infused cocktails for inspiration—namely, the rum-spiked Mojito and bourbon-based Mint Julep. Even though both of these drinks use the fresh herb, a good mint tea, made into a syrup, is a wonderful addition to the cocktails for an extra-minty kick.
Chamomile Tea & Vodka
A lovely and calming tea, chamomile gets its charm from its herbaceousness and florality, which it can easily impart into Vodka. using it in a greyhound or a Vesper can impart wonderful floral undertones that redefine these drinks. If it’s a hot cocktail you want, opt for a Toddy, topping Vodka with a hot pour of mild chamomile tea and honey.
Earl Grey Tea & Gin
Though it is usually made from a blend of black teas, Earl Grey also boasts bergamot oil. A type of orange, bergamot adds a slight citric quality to the tea. And while it would go wonderfully with rum, like its other black tea counterparts, the floral, herbaciousness of Gin works wonders when infused in a simple syrup for a Gin-based Old Fashioned or Tom Collins.
Chai Tea & Rye
Spicy Rye and chai tea work together like a charm because of their shared spice-like characteristics. While it works beautifully infused in cocktails like Manhattan or a Sazerac, you can just as easily upend your flask directly into your mug (with a touch of sugar).
Tea Simple Syrups
Another way to incorporate Tea is by making it into a Simple Syrup. Simply heat 1 cup water on the stove until almost boiling. Remove from stove and add in 4 tea bags or 4 tablespoons of loose leaf to infuse for about 5 minutes. Once the tea has fully steeped, remove the tea bags or strain the loose leaves and return saucepan to stove to bring to a slow boil. Add 1 cup Sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Let stand at room temperature until cool, about 1 hour, before refrigerating. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.