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With a history of thousands of years, few products can enjoy the popularity and cultural significance of tea. The use of tea cultivation for etiquette and medicinal purposes promoted economic development and brought down the government. The relatively new trend of making alcoholic cocktails with tea has given the term “afternoon tea” a new meaning.

Emma Janzen, a spirits journalist nominated for the James Beard Award and editor of Imbibe magazine, reports that tea has been used creatively behind the bar for ten years, but the bartender It is now recognized that not all teas should be treated equally. Janzen said: “The variety of flavors in this category is one reason why tea is an attractive ingredient,” he added, “Each style brings a completely different flavor to the party.”

“I am totally attracted by the terroir of tea,” Janzen said. She appreciates any beverage with a unique sense of place, but she recommends that these nuances disappear when mixed in a cocktail. “If I have to laboriously infuse tea into spirits or syrup, I hope this taste is at the forefront of beverages,” said the bartender expert. She added, “So I will pay attention to being creative while aiming to match the flavors in a way that showcases the tea.”

Janzen explained: “The big and strong black tea has a strong enough personality to withstand the test of aged spirits such as whiskey and brandy, and green tea blends perfectly with the botanical properties of some gin.” “But I might not use green tea. Pair with whiskey and black tea and gin because they have different weight classes,” she said.

The reporter recommends using strong tannin black tea with caution, as over-soaking can cause unnecessary astringency. “For scented teas like jasmine or hibiscus, you have to be careful, because too much floral fragrance can cause an imbalance in the cocktail,” Janzen said. She recommends using relatively neutral ingredients such as lemon juice, vodka and soda to support the floral fragrance.

Like most Japanese brands, Kikori whisky goes well with food, and its smooth and delicate quality is very attractive to bartenders. In addition to contributing to classic whiskey cocktails such as Old Fashioned, founder Ann Soh Woods is also keen on the compatibility of her products with tea, which is another hobby of hers. “Kikori has a bright, floral and delicate silhouette, which complements tea, especially Japanese green tea,” the entrepreneur reports.

Soh Woods uses matcha in the vintage Grasshopper cocktail, which complements the vanilla flavor in Kikori. “If I want to find a bit of smoke, I will mix Kikori with strong tea, roasted green tea and black sesame syrup,” she said. “Tea adds a special subtle element that can enhance the taste of the cocktail without overwhelming the cocktail,” Soh Woods said, adding, “There are countless ways to use tea in a cocktail to balance the overall flavor.”

Ann Sue Woods

“I think it’s about finding a common note, balancing the intensity of flavors and finally finding the best match,” explains Soh Woods of Tea Mixology. For accents, she found that perilla, ginger, black sesame and citrus-like lemon or grapefruit complement the tea. Although it is understandable that Kikori whiskey is Soh Woods’ preferred spirit, she admits that gin is another valuable canvas for tea mixology.

“A cup of tea is filled with incredible enthusiasm, thought and heart, steeped to the perfect temperature, served in a warm cup and shared with others,” said Soh Woods, who thinks this ritual is similar to enjoying a cocktail. “Just like tea in traditional ceremonies, we often share our cocktails with our loved ones to celebrate or commemorate a certain moment,” she said.

Rishi Tea & Botanicals, based in Milwaukee, advertises its products as the basic ingredients of modern cocktails. “Since ancient times, tea and botanicals have been paired with spirits,” said Joshua Kaiser, the founder of Rishi, who added, “We are always looking for new ways to connect people with plants and botanicals, so tea blending is A natural process.”

Rishi runs a bartending laboratory for research and development and has hired bartender and sommelier Stephen Thomas to explore the use of the company’s products behind the bar. “We want to prove that tea can be enjoyed in different ways,” Thomas said, adding, “We are seeing more and more bartenders, bartenders and sommeliers incorporating tea into their beverage plans.”

“We like to start by showing the ingredients of personality and terroir,” says Kaiser, who prefers handmade products, such as his own, rather than mass-produced spirits. The company’s website offers cocktail recipes such as Mushroom Belarus, a blend of Rishi’s Mushroom Hero herbal tea blend, and My Daughter Chamomile, a vodka based on chamomile flowers and oolong tea seed oil.

Kaiser found that oolong and green tea pair well with gin, while black tea and white rum complement each other, but he pointed out that too much vanilla or oak in the spirits can overwhelm the refined quality of the tea. Rishi sells a series of canned sparkling botanicals, offering exotic flavors such as dandelion ginger and turmeric saffron, and is a natural blend for bartenders.

In High Spirits Infusions, located in Salt Lake City, produces infusion packs, packaged in reusable cans that home bartenders can transform into creative cocktails. The company was founded by environmental engineering expert Claire Sessler during the pandemic, who turned her long-term hobby into a thriving business. “My inspiration comes from cooking, trying various flavors and creating in a delicious way, and this experiment extends to cocktails,” Sessler reports. Although not all her kits include tea, other dry ingredients—such as cinnamon sticks, cranberries, ginger root, or lemon—are basically equivalent to herbal teas. “For me, there is a close connection, and I often describe infusions as similar to brewing tea,” the creative entrepreneur explains.

Claire Sesler

One of In High Spirits’ signatures throughout the year is The Speakeasy, which contains dried cherries, oranges, lemons and rosemary in jars. After three days of soaking in gin or whiskey, it’s time for a party. Each infusion kit comes with an instruction card that provides a recipe for craft cocktails. For example, the seasonal rhubarb rose liqueur (rhubarb, rose petals, orange, and hibiscus) will produce a cocktail like Sessler’s Ruby Glow, which is refined from gin, green tea, lemon juice, honey simple syrup, and bitterness. .

Just look at a stylish Las Vegas hotel-and there is no more stylish place than The Cosmopolitan-to discover the hot spots in the cocktail world. The resort’s multiple venues, including CliQue, an underground bar themed barber shop (shaving or Scotch whisky), and celebrity chef Chris Santos’ Beauty & Essex, all offer tea cocktails.

“The complex flavors of tea mixed with the right spirits can highlight certain tasting characteristics and your overall cocktail experience,” said Kirt Finley, the resort’s beverage director. “From the taste of the old world earth to the sweet citrus flavor, tea can express even the most subtle flavors,” he added.

Metropolis Las Vegas

The chandelier bar in the multi-level center of The Cosmopolitan is currently serving two tea-flavored cocktails. Cheat Codes include Ketel One Botanical Peach & Orange Blossom vodka, lemon, sweet tea and yellow version of Red Bull. “Although the industry tends to use darker spirits, I believe that lighter spirits, such as flavored vodka or light rum, can accentuate the taste of tea without overwhelming them,” Finley said. Mr. Miyagi was described by the beverage director as the Asian flavor of the traditional English afternoon tea service, an exotic blend of Kai Coconut Pandan vodka, menthol, vanilla, matcha and coconut cream, paired with decadent mint biscuits.

Beverage Director Courtney Bunn (Courtney Bunn) said that at JW Marriott LA Live in downtown Los Angeles and the adjacent Ritz-Carlton Hotel, people can usually find a cup of tea cocktail in the store. “It’s perfect for spring, but there are different teas in each season,” Bunn reports, noting that matcha and Earl Grey tea sets are noticed at this time of year. Currently offering is Green Bee, made from Maker’s Mark Bourbon, honey and matcha, and decorated with lemon zest. Bunn appreciates the synergy of this ingredient with whiskey, gin, mezcal and sake. “People are now looking for more alcohol-free experiences, and tea is a great way to enhance cocktails.”

Roger Grody

This article originally appeared in Houses and estates magazine.

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