Tea Infused Cocktails

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.

 

20150226_163359

 

Hot Toddy/Totty/Tottie:

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.

 

toddy take 2

 

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.

 

20150226_165148

 

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.

 

20150212_135421


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!

Blue Lady Infused Cupcakes

When I went home for Easter Break, I was feeling the need to bake something, which means I was probably stressed because I bake when I’m stressed.

Teetering on a chair, I rummaged through some of my mom’s cookbooks above the microwave and I finally found an ancient Betty Crocker cookbook. Some of the pages were matted with caked on flour, especially the pancake pages. I found a simple white cake recipe and a brown sugar-based icing. A perfect blank canvas to start with.

 

20140414_112111-1
From left to right: Green tea with green rooibos, Blue Lady, and Fruits of the Forest

I brought home several spring teas I wrote about in The Hawk and I wanted to incorporate them into the cupcakes. A quick way to freshen up a cupcake or cake recipe is to infuse it with tea, and thankfully it only requires an extra step.

For tea I used one of my favorites of the bunch, Blue Lady, an herbal-black tea with an aroma of grapefruit, from The House of Tea. Because it is a black tea, and on the stronger side (a few of them were light green and herbal teas) I figured the flavor would successfully translate into the cupcakes.

Infused tea

 

Infusing is very simple: steep the tea in butter required for the recipe. My recipe called for about a half cup of butter but I ended up using closer to a cup. Usually one teaspoon of tea yields eight ounces of water for a cup of tea but for this recipe I used a couple teaspoons of tea.

In a pot I melted the butter on medium heat (make sure not to burn the butter) and then added about two teaspoons of tea. I let it steep for about five minutes, constantly stirring. I then strained the butter and poured it into the batter.

20140417_120535

The finished cupcakes were light and airy with hints of grapefruit and citrus that complimented the rich icing. So I baked a couple dozen, just enough to forget about the homework load I had…let’s just say I neglected to do any homework but I did make some fabulous treats with tea.

20140417_130652