Tea cocktails—who knew? The sad answer, unfortunately, is everyone but us. In fact, the oldest tea-based cocktail recipe (English Milk Punch) dates back to the 18th century. If like us, you’re late to the tea party, here are a few facts/Internet truths to catch you up: (1) Brown spirits are said to pair best with black tea. (2) Mixologists recommend brewing a double-strength batch of tea so that the flavour stands up to the booze and dilution. (3) Green tea should be brewed with cold water. (4) Long Island Iced Tea doesn’t actually contain any tea. But you probably already knew that. Ooh! One other important detail. Thanks to a garage that got cleaned, we had the pleasure of using a beautiful, 60-year-old cocktail kit that belonged to B’s dad. A good day, indeed.
As for the drink…
- 6 cups boiled water
- 5 bags black tea
- 1/4 cup honey, agave syrup, or simple syrup
- 1/2 cup bourbon
- 1/4 cup Cointreau
- 1 orange, sliced into thick rounds (about 6)
- 5 sprigs of mint (plus extra to garnish)
- 4 strips of thinly sliced orange peel, to garnish
Place 5 black tea bags in 6 cups of boiling water, and let them steep for 5 minutes. Remove the bags, pour the tea into a pitcher, and place it in the fridge to chill.
When it’s cocktail time, take out a shaker, and add the orange rounds, mint sprigs, and bourbon. Muddle the ingredients so that the flavours canoodle. Then strain the mixture into the chilled pitcher of tea, and stir well.
Divide the bourbon tea among 4 ice-filled tumblers, and garnish each drink with a sprig of mint and a twist of orange peel. Cheers!
The verdict: Not bad, but mostly not memorable—neither for its booziness nor its tea-ness. Doctoring it with a splash more Cointreau and bourbon tipped it further toward cocktail (and away from weak, medicinal tea), but it still didn’t wow us. Will definitely try a different tea cocktail, though. Any recommendations?