Surprising as it may sound, the centuries old LIIT, a favourite cocktail for many, has now started seeing an innovation of sorts with actual tea in it.
The tea trend has motivated bartenders to explore new tweaks and additions in old drinks, especially in a bid to cater to health-conscious individuals. In a world where schedules are tight and the pace of life increasingly fast, more and more people are drawn towards natural and healthy substitutes for traditional dietary options, giving rise to an increase in the number of tea adapters.
High-end bars and cocktail lounges across the globe have started seeing a shift towards various tea-based cocktails that are now gaining wide popularity. Cashing in on this trend towards ‘healthy’ cocktails, even alcohol and coffee producers are exploring fusion styles with tea.
What makes tea and alcohol the ideal partners for the perfect drink? The inherent natural synergies present in the two beverages and similarities in flavor and aroma lend great beauty to the mixture. The two complement each other and result in a concoction made superior by the combined flavor profiles.
Sarah Allard, Founder of London-based company Leaf and Liquor, is a strong proponent for tea cocktails. In conversation with LoveforTea she says, “ I do like mixing whiskey with tea – it works particularly well with rich, malty black teas and smoky/charcoal flavored teas. She further adds, “Tea is so diverse – the depth of flavors means you can create a cocktail base that has a multi-sensory effect. Most of us enjoy a cup of tea and green tea consumption is on the rise. It’s only natural the next step is to explore the creative levels to which we can take the humble leaf – something consumers really enjoy and appreciate.”
The delicate balance of unique flavours found in a tea blend with the right kind and amount of alcohol can make for stunning hot and cold cocktails, a territory an increasing number of mixologists are venturing into. Maureen Donegan, the Bar Director at Presidio Social Club in San Francisco says, “Tea is versatile and yields myriad flavor profiles when paired with different ingredients. The combinations are endless. The opportunity to use an herbal tea with, say, a herbal liquor, is a big advantage to a non-caffeine drinker.”
Tea is versatile in nature, offering something for everyone. The number of liquor brands globally that are taking to creating tea cocktails goes on to highlight the popularity of this mixture across the world. Alcohol leader Johnnie Walker is an active player in the space, with it’s website featuring quirky and easy-to-do recipes. Tea Enriched Alcohol, a London-based premium gin and vodka brand, is another interesting player that specialises in tea infused spirits. Long Leaf Tea Vodka, Australia’s first tea infused vodka also seems to be riding on the back of the trend.
So the next time you’re out on a Friday night, don’t forget to ask your bartender for an exciting new tea cocktail!