Who said tea is boring?
The stereotype of the famous brew being the drink of choice for cardigan-clad grannies is on the wane, thanks to the inventive way teas are now being used to create unusual new cocktails.
Tea-infused cocktails with intriguing sounding names like “The Brute Force”, “Miss Salinger” and “Booty Collins” have been steadily making their way onto drink menus around the world. Crafty mixologists are infusing cocktails with everything from Earl Grey to chamomile and Darjeeling, with teas also now being offered like wine or cocktails in some establishments.
While the concept of mixing tea and alcohol isn’t new, you’ll find evidence of tea’s growing popularity in hip bars from New York to Sydney and beyond.
America’s top-rated cocktail bar, Dead Rabbit, in New York, is one of the bars jumping on the tea cocktail trend. It offers concoctions including the Brute Force
, a $16 cocktail made of green tea with tequila Blanco, Jamaican overproof rum, lime, pear, almond, and Absinthe.
At The Tippler, also in New York, you can order a “Booty Collins
” featuring green tea infused vodka, passionfruit, lemon, cayenne, and soda. If a shot is more your thing, try “The Northern Comfort
“, made of peach and hibiscus tea-infused bourbon, honey and lime.
At Sydney’sEau-De-Vie, you can try out a 20 AUD (15 USD) “Miss Salinger
“. According to the menu, this creation is “inspired by … high-tea ceremonies of old” mixed with the establishment’s “flair”. The drink apparently started out as a Bellini before being mixed with gin which has been tea-infused, sparkling wine, peach wine, and almond syrup.
If you’re visiting Chicago, check out Unite Urban Grill for the “Penicillin
“, which infuses Lavender green tea syrup with blended scotch and lemon.
What’s behind the trend?
As more and more people become increasingly health-conscious and switch to a clean lifestyle, these tea-based cocktails are seen as a healthier alternative to the usual waist-expanding tipples such as sugar-laden Mojitos or creamy Chocolate Mudslides.
The tea cocktail trend has also been driven by growing awareness about tea’s health benefits.
According to this report by Today.com
, health benefits include the presence of antioxidants, which help keep us young and protect us from damage caused by pollution. Tea may also reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, help with weight loss, protect bones and boost the immune system.
We are more health-conscious than ever – just look at the rise of organic food, for example. According to Julie Brument, co-owner at The Nine, in Sydney’s Bondi, this health “effect” has extended to the bar scene.
“People are more and more careful about what they consume. They want Fair Trade, organic spirits, less sugar, and interesting fruit and vegetable combinations,” Brument said in this report
The Nine, a small produce-driven café, eatery, and wine bar, also offers tea cocktails including the “Quinoa Fizz”, made with organic quinoa vodka, kombucha, apple, basil, lemon, and pepper.
The ideal base
Tea is the ideal base for imparting unique flavors, textures, and combinations. As the flavor can range from subtle to strong, and tea contains no sugar, the brew is perfect for cocktails, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
Teas which are ideal for cocktails include distinctive flavored brews such as Darjeeling, Oolong, South African rooibos, and Japanese green tea. Floral teas such as hibiscus and chamomile are also well-suited. These teas are best paired with alcohols such as white rum, vodka, and flavored liqueurs.
Smart marketers are also jumping on the tea cocktail bandwagon, with ready-made tea mixers now for sale. They include Owl’s Brew
, which manufactures five tea flavors which can be mixed with vodka, tequila, rum, whiskey, gin or champagne.
If you’d like to make your own tea cocktails, try out one (or all) of the recipes below. Cheers!
Green Tea with Champagne (6 glasses)
8 teaspoons of green tea
4 tsp sugar
2 cups of water
Pear and apple slices
1 bottle of cava
Method: Infuse the tea in 1 cup of water at 70 degrees for 3 minutes. Strain. Incorporate the remaining cup of water and dissolve the sugar. Serve in tall glasses with ice, fruit slices and mint. Fill with ice cold cava. Enjoy!