It all started with the sniffles and a steaming mug of spiced cinnamon black tea and honey. And whiskey. Hot on the tongue and warm in the belly. Sip, savor, repeat…after that it’s been a slippery slope experimenting with tea infused cocktails.
1 heaping teaspoon of tea per 8 ounces of water
1-2 shots of Irish Whiskey (eyeball it– and please drink responsibly)
1 Tablespoon of local honey and/or lemon juice
2 Cinnamon sticks for taste and garnish
Pour almost boiling water (don’t want to burn the leaves!) over the tea and steep about 4 minutes. Strain the leaves from the tea, add honey and whiskey, stir in and add cinnamon sticks. Enjoy slowly.
When to drink: Winter evenings and to soothe a sore throat.
The Hot Toddy is something my cousin (a Murphy of course) swears by. I remember having a conversation via text when he was a little under the weather and he proclaimed the hot whiskey would heal all ailments. As his younger cousin, I trusted him enough to try it next time I had a sore throat, and it was certainly soothing. I make Hot Toddies with Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice, a black tea blend with bold flavors of sweet cinnamon, cloves, and orange peels. An excellent partner for Jameson and just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.
White Tea Sangria:
Two heaping teaspoons of white tea per 8 ounces of white wine.
¼ cup of frozen fruit, your preference.
2 tablespoons simple syrup (Optional. I refrained from using a simple syrup).
For the simple syrup, bring ¼ cup water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in ¼ cup of brown sugar until completely dissolved. Let cool before adding to the mixture.
Steep white tea in wine for at least 24 hours in the refrigerator. Pour wine into a glass, add fruit, and stir in simple syrup. For fruitier wine, add the fruit with the tea the night before. Add a slice of lime for garnish. Adapt this recipe by adding a splash of liquor, possibly a gin. Maybe even a tea steeped gin…
When to drink: Dinner parties and lazy summer afternoons.
This sangria is a tad tart and not very fruity. I steeped the tea leaves in the wine overnight using a light, earthy tea: The Tea Spot’s Monkey-Picked white tea. It paired well with a light bodied, sauvignon blanc. Refreshing, yet dry. A good base for a sangria–tea or no tea.
For a sweeter, fruitier sangria, like the one I made last July make a strong iced tea and mix with wine in a pitcher (1 part iced tea, 2 parts wine). Add your favorite fruit and let sit overnight in the refrigerator. Just before serving, if you like, make a simple syrup and add it to the tea and wine mixture. I froze raspberries in ice cubes to keep my sangria cold…and because it looks so darn pretty.
Gin and Tea Cocktail:
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) tea-steeped gin (I used a black tea blend)
1.5 tablespoons simple syrup (equal parts brown sugar and water)
1.5 tablespoons of lemon juice
Ice cubes (for shaking)
A splash of ginger ale (or if you wish, use as a replacement for the simple syrup)
To steep gin, use two heaping teaspoons of tea per 4 ounces of gin. Steep the tea in gin for at least 24 hours (I recommend 48 hours). Pour into a shaker, add simple syrup, lemon juice, and ice. Shake. Pour, leaving out the ice, into cocktail glass. Add ginger ale and garnish with lemon peels on the rim or zest lemon over the cocktail.
When to drink: After sunset and during pensive contemplation.
This last drink is brand new to me; it had the most steps, involved the most risk and variables, but was the most fun to make (and remake). If you can steep tea in wine, why not steep it in gin and make a martini or cocktail? In my research, I noticed Earl Grey was a popular blend used to steep in gin. Gin is a strong spirit, so it needs a strong blend. I wanted to stay in the black tea family but do something different. Here I used The Tea House’s Blue Lady, a black tea blend with lavender and grapefruit: lightly floral and citrusy.
If you have a favorite tea cocktail please feel free to share!