In an exploration of warm cocktails this winter, I was reintroduced to one of my favourites, Blueberry Tea. Only made with three ingredients, this tea does not actually have any blueberries, and was popular in the ’70s and ’80s with the camping and back-country crowd.
But I rarely stick to just the classics. Turns out most teas make great low-sugar mixes. This means beautiful light cocktails and fewer hangovers.
What Teas Make Good Cocktails?
Truthfully, it depends on what you like. You can either start with flavours that you love, or you can build around the alcohol you have on hand.
If you like stronger alcohols, like whiskey, tequila, or rum, choose warm or bold flavours that will meld well. Save more delicate herbal teas for alcohols like gin, vodka, and wines.
The trick to making any good cocktail is to use high-quality ingredients. So prepare your tea at the right temperature! Most teas don’t actually need to be brewed at 100 degrees.
My favourite tea brand to buy is Stash. As a certified B Corp, I know they are aligned with my values and are externally audited for the environmental impact of the total lifecycle of all their products and their facilities. There are no plastics in their tea bag, so I can compost the whole thing.
David’s Tea is another great place to look. They probably have one of the widest selection of teas I’ve seen. So if you’re looking for something fresh, they might be the place. Their sachets are also plastic-free and plant based.
Traditionally made in a snifter to help preserve the aromas, this tea does not need to have Grand Marnier. You can use any orange flavoured liquor you have on hand, (I usually have triple sec).
There is debate on whether you should use Orange Pekoe or Earl Grey (this seems to be a Canadian vs. American debate). But I’m a sucker for bergamot so EG is my preferred route.
- 4 oz Earl Grey tea
- 1 oz Amaretto
- 1 oz Grand Mernier
- Brew your Earl Grey tea to package instructions
- Mix all ingredients in a mug and enjoy!
Treaty of Paris
This relatively new cocktail feels old-timey and romantic. Perfect for catching up with friends over a charcuterie board, or a board game date night.
I topped this tea-infused cocktail with some dried lavender flowers. It adds beautifully to the smell. The original drink makes a simple syrup with Earl Grey, making a more intense flavour, but this recipe is the simple way.
Treaty of Paris
- 1 oz Earl Grey
- ¾ oz Brandy
- ½ Lemon Juiced
- ½ tbsp Canned Chickpea Juice (or eggwhite)
- 2 oz Sparkling Wine
- In a shaker without ice, mix everything but the sparkling wine. Shake vigorously. This is called a dry shake and creates the best froth with the chickpea juice
- Strain into chilled glass with ice and lavender
- Top with sparkling wine and enjoy!
Sparkling Peach Tea Sangria
If I’m not using Stash, I like loose leaf teas that have no bag so they can go straight into my vermiculture bin. David’s offers lots of fun fruity flavours that make amazing iced tea and cocktails.
Remember if you are looking for a stronger flavour for your tea-infused cocktails, add more tea. If you try to steep the tea for a longer time than recommended it’ll become bitter.
Peach Tea Sparkling Sangria
- Jug or Pitcher
- 1 Cup Peach Tea by Davids Tea
- ¾ Bottle of Sparkling Wine Lola by Pelee Island
- 3 oz Brandy
- ¼ Cup Frozen Grapes
- ¼ Cup Frozen Strawberries
- ¼ Cup Frozen Raspberries
- Brew peach tea to package instructions and allow it to cool to room temperature
- Mix all ingredients in a jug or pitcher, stir, serve, and enjoy!
Using Chickpea juice (also known as aquafava) is a great way to add creamy and frothy texture to your drink. It mellows out the flavours and brings out some more of the hidden notes in whatever you’re mixing. If you leave it out, you will get a very different tasting drink!
Green Tea Sour
If you like caffeine with your alcohol, green tea-infused cocktails just make sense. This refreshing sour is just what you need when you’re getting ready to go out after work, or instead of mimosa at a morning brunch.
This drink works best if you re-make the tea and allow it to come back to room temp before cocktail making.
Green Tea Sour
- cockail shaker
- 3 oz Gin
- 3 oz Green Tea
- 6 slices Cucumber sliced rounds
- 1 Lime Juiced
- 1½ tbsp Chickpea Juice (or egg whites)
- Brew your green tea to package instructions
- in a chilled shaker, muddle your cucumber and mix all ingredients without ice. Shake vigorously
- Strain into chilled glasses and enjoy!
Vanilla Chai Vermouth
- 2 C Dry White Wine Divided
- ¼ tsp Chai
- ⅓ tsp Vanilla or ½" fresh Vanilla Bean
- 115 mL Honey
- 115 mL Brandy
- 60 mL Port
- In a pot over Medium-Low heat, bring 1 Cup of wine to a gentle boil with the Chai. Take off heat, add the vanilla, and allow to steep for 3-5 min. Strain and set aside.
- In a pot over Medium-Low heat, caramelize the honey until it is slightly more golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the brandy and Port.
- When everything has cooled for 10-20 minutes, mix everything, including the other 1 C of wine, together. store in the fridge for up to 6 months.
Vanilla Chai Manhattan
If you want a stronger flavour (or a stronger drink), consider making tea-infused syrups or Vermouth.
Vanilla Chai Manhattan
- mixing glass and spoon
- 3 oz Bourbon Bulleit
- 2 oz Vanilla Chai Vermouth
- 4 Dash Bitters
- Orange peel
- In 2 glasses, add fresh ice and your orange peels. It adds to the aromatics if you twist the wedge while running it around the edge of the glass.
- In a shaker or mixing glass, add your Bourbon and Vermouth. Stir for 45 seconds. The water from the stiring opens up the flavous in the bourbon.
- Top you glasses with two shhakes of bitters each, and enjoy!
If you’re not sure where to start, I made a little infographic to get you started with your tastings! I would love to see photos if anyone makes any of these, so tag me on Instagram!