10 Tea Cocktails
Adding alcohol to tea results in a really rather refreshing combination that slides smoothly down the throat a little bit too easily! Lately more and more tea and alcohol concoctions have been cropping up on bar menus, as bar owners and the like come to the same conclusion, that alcoholic tea is the way forward. Having sampled a fare few tea-based cocktails I felt the need to share a few ideas.
Alcoholic iced tea is a great alternative to your run of the mill cocktails, they’re not as heavy as the juice based cocktails can be and, although they do require sweetening, they generally contain less sugar than a lot of cocktail recipes; the likes of which often contain added sugar, juice and/or fizzy drinks. What’s more, many teas contain disease fighting antioxidants and even caffeine is purported of late to have health benefits, so you can drink and be merry in a mildly health conscious way!
The ingredient quantities for each of the cocktail recipes yields one drink. For tea cocktails it is likely to be more practical to brew a pot of tea rather than a cup and use it as an when required for ice teas with or without the alcohol element.
Quick Tips Before We Start
Sweetener will dissolve more easily at the tea brewing stage, especially if using sugar. The question of exactly how much sweetener to add is very subjective so experimentation and little by little is the key to begin with. Perhaps put a moderate amount in with the hot tea and then when it comes to combining the ingredients, pour everything into the shaker and give it a stir with a spoon just to test out the overall flavor and decide whether it needs more sugary substance.
Sweeteners come in all shapes and sizes, pure white or brown sugar, sugar syrup, honey syrup, agave nectar and many others. When concocting cocktails with tea there is no real need to go to the effort of making up a syrup as well since the sweetener can easily be added at the brewing stage. Which you choose comes down to personal preference but I tend to prefer agave nectar. The syrup is sweeter than honey and so less is needed, it also hasn't got quite as distinctive a flavor so the flavor isn't altered as much.
Chai Tea Cocktail
1. Chai Tea Cocktail
An iced Chai tea cocktail is a particular favorite of mine, I love everything about this spicy concoction. It's refreshing yet has a subtle heat from the spiciness of the tea, the freshly squeezed lemon juice adds a zing of zest, the agave syrup sweetens it perfectly and the vodka just makes it all worthwhile.
- 6 ounces/170 ml boiling water
- Chai tea or spicy Chai tea bag
- 1 ounce/30 ml vodka
- 1 lemon
- Agave nectar
- Steep the Chai tea in boiling water, let the tea bag(s) stew for around 3 minutes. Discard the tea bags
- You can either add the agave nectar to the hot tea, or when combining the ingredients, or a little now and a little later to fine tune the flavor.
- Let the tea cool, refrigerate if necessary.
- Squeeze half a lemons worth of juice either by hand or using a juicer.
- Add a handful of ice, the chilled tea, vodka and lemon juice and syrup (if adding the sweetener at this stage) to a cocktail shaker.
- Shake hard until the outside of the shaker has frosted up.
- Strain into a glass and add a slice of fresh lemon to garnish.
2.Chai Tea and Ginger Beer Cocktail
Here is an alternative Chai Tea cocktail recipe but don't add too much ginger beer as it will overpower the flavor.
- 6 ounces/170 ml Chai tea
- 1.5 ounce/40 ml spiced rum
- Dash of ginger beer
- Combine tea and spiced rum in a cocktail shaker
- Strain into glass filled with ice.
- Top up with ginger beer.
3. Earl Grey Tea Cocktail
Savor the distinctive citrus flavors of earl grey tea, made from oil extracted from the Bergamot orange, combined with the delightful aromas of lavender and honey - this cocktail has everything going for it.
The recipe uses fresh lavender, alternatively buy Earl Grey and lavender tea or lavender honey to achieve the lavender infusion.
- 6 ounces/170 ml cold Earl Grey tea
- 1 1/4 ounces/35 ml gin
- 1 1/4 ounces/35 ml honey simple syrup (see recipe below)
- 1/2 ounce/14 ml fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 2 or 3 lavender sprigs
- Brew Earl Grey tea for a 3-5 minutes.
- Take out the tea and add about a teaspoon of honey per 6 ounces of tea (so just 1 1/4 for one cocktail).
- Chill the tea.
- Add ice, 1 serving of tea, gin, lemon juice and sprigs of lavender into a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously.
- Strain into glass and garnish with lavender.
4. Momo's Sassy Punch
During London Cocktail Week 2014, this particular cocktail was served complimentary courtesy of Ketel One vodka and I have to admit it was very moreish indeed!
- 1 3/4 ounces/50 ml Ketel One Vodka
- 2/3 ounces/20 ml fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 ounces/10 ml sugar syrup
- 1 3/4 ounces/50 ml Earl Grey and blackberry tea
- Lemon and nutmeg to garnish
- Brew the Earl Grey and blackberry tea and chill.
- Add the ingredients to a shaker and shake away.
- Fill a tumbler with ice.
- Strain into ice-filled glass, shake over ground nutmeg and garnish with wedge of lemon.
5. Sweet Tea and Bourbon
This jazzy take on sweet tea is a great tipple to get the party going, it is caffeine and boozy bourbon in one after all.
- 1 black tea bag
- 1/2 ounce/15 ml cup agave syrup (or preferred equivalent)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 ounce/15 ml bourbon (or a little more if you want a bit more kick)
- 1/2 orange, sliced (more if you want to garnish)
- Sprig fresh mint
- Plenty of ice
- Steep tea for around 4 minutes and discard tea bags.
- Add the agave syrup and allow to cool.
- Refrigerate until cold.
- In a bowl add the bourbon, orange slices, and mint and muddle the ingredients together and enjoy the orangey, boozy, minty goodness wafting up your nostrils!
- Once suitably infused combine the tea and mixture and if you prefer strain out the orange and mint leaves.
- Fill glasses with ice and pour. Garnish with orange circles, slices or wedges if desired.
6. Green Tea Cocktails
Here are two differing Green Tea Cocktail recipes:
Cucumber and Green Teani
- 2 ounces/60 ml citrus vodka
- 2 inch piece of cucumber
- Dash simple syrup (or spoon of sugar added to tea before cooling)
- Dash lemon juice
- 3/4 ounce/25 ml green tea
- Piece of fresh ginger
- 2 basil leaves
- Small pinch of sea salt
- Muddle cucumber and ginger with a pinch of salt and simple syrup.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and shake with ice.
- Finely strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a thin slice of cucumber.
7. Green Tea Cosmo
- 2 ounces/50 ml green tea
- 1-2 teaspoons honey (or green tea with honey teabags)
- 1 ounce/30 ml vodka
- 1/2 ounce/15 ml orange liqueur
- 1/2 ounce/15 ml fresh lime juice
- 1/2 ounce/15 ml cranberry juice cocktail
- Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice.
- Shake well, then strain into chilled Martini glass.
- Garnish with lime peel.
8. Jasmine and Elderflower Martini
- 2 ounce/50 ml vodka
- 1 ounce/30 ml elderflower liqueur (e.g. Chase Elderflower Liqueur or make your own honest-food.net/foraging-recipes/sweets-and-syrups/elderflower-liqueur)
- 1/3 ounce/10 ml jasmine tea
- 1/4 ounce/7 ml martini extra dry
- Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker with ice and shake.
- Strain into martini glass or vessel of your choice.
9. Peach Iced Tea Cocktail
There are two alternative methods to make a peach flavored iced tea. You can either go down the peach infused tea route or else use a peach schnapps.
Yield: 1 cocktail
- 1 ounce/30 ml vodka
- 1 ounce/30 ml peach schnapps
- 1 cup/240 ml cooled tea
- Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker, shake and then strain into a glass with more ice.
Yield: 1 cocktail
- 6 ounces water (divided into 4 and 2 ounces)
- 1 peach tea bag
- 1 ounce vodka
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- Peach slices to garnish
- Extra sugar to garnish
- Steep the peach tea bag in boiling water with the brown sugar for about 5 minutes. Discard tea bag.
- Add the remaining water and vodka and transfer to refrigerator to cool.
- Decorate the glass with sugar if desired (moisten the rim using a little of the iced tea and dip into sugar spread over a plate).
- Add a slice of peach to garnish (optional).
- Fill the glass with ice and pour in chilled peach iced tea.
Keep it simple with vodka and peach tea mixer or alternatively use black tea and peach schnapps for a different take on a peach tea cocktail.
If you want to make your own peach tea perhaps take a look at my hub on making your own iced teas.
- Don't go overboard with the alcohol as the tea Popsicle's won't freeze!
10. Iced Tea Popsicles
Alcoholic iced tea Popsicle recipes, just like the tea cocktails, can be made up of all manor of ingredients. Examples include: straight sweet tea and vodka, drunk fresh fruit such as peaches doused in mix of alcohol and soaked for a few hours and then frozen in molds with peach tea, whole raspberries frozen in raspberry tea, to name but a few.
My favored recipe detailed below keeps it simple with a refreshing vodka and peach iced tea Popsicle.
Yield: 8 Popsicle's based on about 3/4 cup or 170 ml per ice lolly.
- 10 bags peach tea/2/3 cup instant peach tea (twice as much as directed)
- 6 ounces/170 ml vodka
- 6 cups/1400 ml water
- Steep the peach tea for slightly longer than normal using double the amount of tea as freezing dulls the overall flavor. Allow to cool. Or if using instant iced tea then simply stir in to cold water.
- Mix the vodka and the tea together and stir well.
- Pour into molds.
- After an hour take out of the freezer and stir to ensure the alcohol is evenly dispersed.
- Return to freezer.
- Take out and if necessary run body under slightly warm tap to release from molds.
Making truly clear ice is easier said than done. You can make clear-ish ice by filling ice cube trays with boiled water but you will still end up with some air in the center of the ice and so the outside will be clear but the inside slightly murky.
This very in-depth article explains how to make totally clear ice but it takes some doing! www.alcademics.com/2015/01/clear-ice-cubes-using-a-tray-in-a-cooler.html
To add to the finesse of the cocktails finished product why not play around with some quirky ice cubes? Here are instructions to make funky ice:
- First of all choose something to feature inside the ice. I have picked daisies but you could try it with a multitude of different things, like lavender, fruit, iced-iced tea! Make sure it's nothing poisonous though! Place your items into each compartment of ice cube tray.
- In order to make clear ice a bit more clear add filtered water to a kettle and boil. Then allow the boiling water to cool down and pour into the tray over the flowers.
The tea cocktail recipes detailed above all use flavored tea bags as their drink base rather than plain tea with added fruits. If you want to prepare the tea infusions yourself then take a look at my Iced Tea Recipes hub for inspiration.