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The Rise of Tea Cocktails: Mixology Meets Tradition

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Step into the spirited world where ancient tradition steeps effortlessly into modern mixology — welcome to the rise of tea cocktails!

Once confined to teapots and serene afternoons, tea is now shaking up the cocktail scene, offering a fresh twist on your favorite spirits. From the smoky notes of a Lapsang Souchong to the delicate floral hints of jasmine, tea infuses depth and complexity into every glass it graces.

So, whether you’re a tea enthusiast, a cocktail aficionado, or a curious newcomer, prepare to embark on a flavorful journey where mixology meets tradition and every sip tells a story.

tea cocktails

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The Basics of Tea in Cocktails

Tea’s versatility makes it a perfect candidate for cocktail experimentation, but not all teas are created equal when it comes to mixology. The key lies in selecting the right type of tea and mastering the art of infusion.

  • Tea Selection: Green, black, herbal, and oolong teas are the most commonly used in cocktails due to their distinct flavors and aromas. Green tea offers grassy notes that pair well with lighter spirits like vodka and gin, while the robust flavors of black tea complement darker spirits such as bourbon and rum.
  • Brewing Techniques: To capture tea’s full essence in cocktails, brewing must be precise. In general, the amount of tea is only a few ounces per cocktail, so it should be brewed stronger than usual. However, over-brewing can lead to unpleasant bitterness. Cold brewing is an excellent method for cocktails as it slowly extracts flavors without bitterness.

Classic Tea Cocktail Recipes

These beloved classic concoctions combine the delicate flavors of tea with the bold nuances of spirits, creating a taste that’s both refreshing and deeply satisfying. From the aromatic allure of an Earl Grey Martini to the vibrant zest of a Green Tea Mojito, these recipes offer a delightful twist to your cocktail experience.

Here are some timeless recipes that are sure to delight cocktail lovers:

The Earl Grey Martini

Earl Grey Martini

This cocktail blends the citrusy notes of Earl Grey tea with the smoothness of gin, enhanced by a touch of lemon and sweet syrup. Perfect for an elegant evening or a special occasion, enjoy a unique twist on the classic martini.

Read my guide to make this drink at home: The Ultimate Earl Grey Martini Recipe

The Green Tea Mojito

Green Tea Mojito

Infuse your mojito with a twist of health and zest with the Green Tea Mojito, a refreshing cocktail that marries the invigorating properties of green tea with the lively flavors of a classic mojito.

This cocktail is perfect for those looking to enjoy a drink that’s as revitalizing as it is delicious!


  • Green tea bags: 2
  • Fresh mint leaves: 10-12, plus extra for garnish
  • Lime: 1, cut into wedges
  • Sugar: 2 tablespoons
  • White rum: 2 ounces
  • Soda water: to top
  • Ice cubes


  1. Brew the Tea: Steep the green tea bags in 1 cup of hot water for about 3 minutes. Remove the tea bags and let the tea cool to room temperature.
  2. Muddle the Ingredients: In a sturdy glass, add the mint leaves, lime wedges, and sugar. Muddle them together with a muddler or the back of a spoon to release the lime juice and mint oils. The sugar will help grind the mint and lime to release more flavor.
  3. Combine: Add the cooled green tea and white rum to the muddled mint-lime mixture. Stir well to dissolve the sugar completely.
  4. Add Ice: Fill the glass with ice cubes to chill the mixture.
  5. Top with Soda: Pour soda water over the ice to fill the glass, giving it a gentle stir to mix all the ingredients together.
  6. Garnish and Serve: Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint and maybe a slice of lime on the rim of the glass. Serve immediately and enjoy the refreshing, herbal twist on a beloved classic.

Innovative Tea Cocktail Creations

Today’s mixologists are pushing the boundaries by incorporating exotic teas into their cocktail recipes, creating a new wave of innovative drinks.

Here are a few of my favorite picks:

Jasmine Tea Spritz

Jasmine Tea Spritz

Immerse yourself in the enchanting allure of the Jasmine Tea Spritz, a cocktail that marries the delicate fragrance of jasmine with the lively sparkle of prosecco.

This drink artfully combines the deep floral undertones of jasmine tea with the bright, effervescent charm of a classic spritz, crafting an exquisite beverage that’s perfect for sipping on warm, lazy afternoons or at elegant evening gatherings.


  • Jasmine tea: 1 bag or 1 tablespoon loose leaf
  • Prosecco: 2 ounces
  • Aperol: 1 ounce
  • Ice cubes
  • Orange slice, for garnish


  1. Brew the Tea: Steep the jasmine tea in 1 cup of hot water for about 4 minutes to make a strong infusion. Remove the tea bag or strain the loose leaves and allow the tea to cool to room temperature.
  2. Prepare the Glass: Fill a large wine glass or a spritz glass with ice cubes to chill.
  3. Mix the Cocktail: Pour the cooled jasmine tea over the ice, followed by the Aperol. Stir gently to mix the flavors.
  4. Add Prosecco: Top the glass with prosecco, pouring slowly to preserve the bubbles and gently mix without stirring too vigorously, maintaining the sparkling texture.
  5. Garnish and Serve: Garnish with a fresh slice of orange. The citrus will complement the floral notes of the jasmine and the bitterness of the Aperol, enhancing the overall flavor profile.
  6. Enjoy: Serve immediately and enjoy the aromatic refreshment of this unique and elegant spritz.

Smoky Black Tea Old Fashioned

Smoky Black Tea Old Fashioned

Introduce a hint of intrigue to your cocktail repertoire with the Smoky Black Tea Old Fashioned. This robust cocktail combines the deep, earthy tones of smoked black tea with the classic richness of an Old Fashioned, creating a sophisticated, smoky twist on a timeless favorite. Perfect for those who appreciate a cocktail with a strong character and lingering complexity, this drink is sure to impress at any sophisticated gathering or a quiet evening by the fire.


  • Smoked black tea (like Lapsang Souchong): 1 tea bag or 1 tablespoon loose leaf
  • Bourbon: 2 ounces
  • Simple syrup: 1/2 ounce
  • Angostura bitters: 2 dashes
  • Ice cubes
  • Orange peel and slice, for garnish
  • Maraschino cherry, for garnish (optional)


  1. Brew the Tea: Steep the smoked black tea in about 1/2 cup of hot water for 3 to 4 minutes to create a strong infusion. Remove the tea bag or strain the leaves and allow the tea to cool to room temperature.
  2. Prepare the Glass: Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice cubes to chill.
  3. Mix the Cocktail: In the glass, combine the cooled tea, bourbon, simple syrup, and Angostura bitters. Stir well to mix the flavors thoroughly.
  4. Garnish: Express the oil of an orange peel over the glass, then drop it into the drink. Optionally, add an orange slice or maraschino cherry for a classic touch.
  5. Serve: Stir the cocktail gently once more before serving to ensure that all the elements are perfectly combined.
  6. Enjoy: Savor the rich, smoky flavors of this unique take on the Old Fashioned.

Tea Cocktails Around the World

The global tea cocktail scene reflects the cultural diversity of tea traditions and local spirits. In Asia, for instance, matcha and sake form the basis of innovative cocktails, while in the southern United States, sweet tea vodka spritzers provide a regional twist on the classic spritzer.

Sake Matcha Cooler

Sake Matcha Cooler

The Sake Matcha Cooler is a vibrant fusion where the serene world of Japanese tea traditions meets the crisp, spirited essence of sake. This cocktail blends the earthy sophistication of matcha green tea with the smooth, subtle complexity of sake.

Perfect for a summer afternoon or as a novel aperitif, this cooler offers a unique way to enjoy two of Japan’s most celebrated beverages in one glass.


  • Sake: 4 oz
  • Matcha green tea powder: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Simple syrup: 1/2 oz
  • Lime juice: 1 oz
  • Ice
  • Fresh mint leaves (for garnish)
  • Lime wheel (for garnish)


  1. In a shaker, combine the matcha powder with a small amount of water and whisk until smooth to create a matcha shot.
  2. Add ice to the shaker along with the sake, simple syrup, and lime juice.
  3. Shake vigorously until well chilled.
  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass filled with ice.
  5. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and a lime wheel on the rim for a refreshing and visually appealing finish.

More About Tea Cocktails

Here are a few more ideas and things to consider when drinking or serving tea cocktails.

Health Aspects of Tea Cocktails

Though adding tea to cocktails infuses them with a dose of antioxidants, it’s important to consume these beverages responsibly. The health benefits of tea can complement a healthy lifestyle when enjoyed in moderation, offering a novel way to enjoy the natural benefits of both tea and moderate alcohol consumption.

Pairing Tea Cocktails with Food

Tea cocktails offer unique pairing opportunities with food. For instance, a jasmine tea cocktail pairs wonderfully with Asian cuisine, while a robust black tea blend might complement a hearty meat dish.

Understanding the flavor profiles of both the tea and the dish can elevate the dining experience.

Hosting a Tea Cocktail Party

Hosting a tea cocktail party can be an exciting way to showcase this trend. Tips for success include offering a variety of tea cocktails, using fresh ingredients, and perhaps even a small station where guests can blend their own tea bases.

Themes can range from a sophisticated high tea with a twist, where cocktails are served in teacups, to a more relaxed garden party with iced tea cocktails in mason jars.

The Future of Tea Cocktails

As the demand for novel and healthier cocktail options grows, tea is set to play a pivotal role in the future of mixology. Innovations such as tea-infused spirits and tea bitters could further integrate tea into the art of cocktail creation, promising an exciting future for this delicious synergy.

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