Forget crumpets, tea and booze is in vogue
Something is brewing in the world of craft cocktails. With herbs and botanicals all the rage in terms of liquor, it’s no surprise that the new trend in mixers is tea.
Brewed tea — iced tea, green tea, chamomile, etc. — is popping up as an ingredient on cocktail menus around town and tea companies like Teatulia and Pukka organic teas are pitching their products as being good resources for making unique, refreshing beverages.
Another tea company called Owl’s Brew is promoting its product as being brewed and mixed specifically to be paired with booze. It comes in three flavors. Besides a standard English breakfast tea, Owl’s Brea makes White and Vine, which is a white tea flavored with watermelon and pomegranate. Another flavor, Pink and Black, is a Darjeeling tea with hibiscus, lemon peel and strawberry.
Tea-flavored vodkas are also gaining popularity, including Seagram’s sweet tea flavored vodka and Absolut Wild Tea, flavored with tea and elderflower.
“I think tea in cocktails is a relatively new trend around here, but it has been being done nationally for a while,” says Shane Bang, president of the United States Bartenders Guild Greater Detroit Chapter. Bang works as a freelance bartender and can be found working at downtown Detroit lounges like the Keep and the Whisky Parlor.
Bang, who has also worked at the Oakland in Ferndale, created “summer harvest,” a cocktail made with gin, lemon juice, raspberry syrup, orange juice and hibiscus tea, which he infuses with carbon dioxide.
“I like to use tea in cocktails as a way to enhance the flavor of the spirit. For example, a specific tea blend can help bring out the botanicals in a specific gin. It can help make the flavor imparted from the barrel in whiskey really pop in a drink.”
At Punch Bowl Social on Broadway, bartenders are using South American mate tea in the Bachelor’s Bowl. The punch is made with pineapple guava yerba mate tea blended with Old Forester Bourbon, Pimm’s Blackberry Elderflower Liqueur and lemon juice.
Close to Punch Bowl at the Hard Rock Cafe near Campus Martius, the cafe’s summer cocktail menu features the Back Porch Tea, which blends rum and gin with St. Germain, iced tea, lemonade, muddled basil and mint and a dash of cucumber syrup.
Homesteading expert and author Abigail R. Gehring teamed up with Teatulia organic tea to produce an entire recipe book: “A Mixologists’s Guide to legendary Tea-Infused Cocktails.”
Blackberry and Black Tea Bourbon
1 tea bag or 1 teaspoon loose leaf Teatulia Black Tea
1/4 cup fresh blackberries
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint
A few whole mint leaves for garnish
4 ounces bourbon
1/2 cup crushed ice
Brew tea in 8-ounce mug and chill in refrigerator. Muddle blackberries, sugar and chopped mint and divide between two glasses. Combine chilled tea, ice and bourbon in a shaker and shake for 30 seconds. Pour into glasses, give a quick stir and garnish with mint leaves.
“A Mixologist’s Guide to Legendary Tea-Infused Cocktails”
Dark and Stormy with Ginger Tea
1 tea bag or 1 teaspoon loose leaf Teatulia Ginger Herbal Infusion
6-8 ice cubes
4 ounces dark rum
4 ounces ginger ale
Brew tea in 8-ounce mug and chill in refrigerator. Put 3-4 ice cubes and 1/4 of a lime in each glass. Squeeze lime juice out and drop peel into glass. Pour 4 ounces of tea and 2 ounces of each rum and ginger ale in each glass. Stir gently.
“A Mixologist’s Guide
to Legendary Tea-Infused Cocktails”
Duke of Earl
1 1/2 ounces Bombay Sapphire Gin
2 1/2 ounces Owl’s Brew Classic
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
Pour ingredients over ice and stir. Garnish with lavender sprig.
Bombay Sapphire Gin