April is kind of a weird month when it comes to drinking cocktails. The winter months have their comforting, go-to toddies, buttered rums, and egg nog. Summer calls for cooling, tropical libations. But the early days of April are unpredictable; one day we have torrential rain and wind, the next, sun and promising gentle breezes. What we need are drinks that can play the same balancing act.
Tea-based cocktails are the answer. They can be strong, hot, and deeply comforting, or light, floral, and refreshing. Their flavors are innumerable, meaning almost every drinker can find a tea cocktail to suit his or her taste. Naturally, we’ve given you more than a few options to explore below.
Created as a nod to the iconic actress, Measure Lounge’s tea-based cocktail is the perfect splash into spring. At once delicate and tart, floral and snappy, it’s as close to the month of March in a glass as you might imagine. Avion Blanco Tequila is infused with lavender, then combined with Pink & Black tea, and topped with St. Germain foam.
Head bartender Jeff Spear created this tea-based cocktail for James Beard-award winning Tory Miller’s Pan-Asian concept restaurant. White tea, peach sangria, apple brandy and lemon combine for a fruity, effervescent sip that showcases Spear’s creativity. Stop by the bar to give it a go, and peruse a menu of creative hip-hop inspired cocktails.
Travelle in Chicago offers a comprehensive menu of classic and original cocktails, and Priscilla Young’s tea-infused Thai’rd of the Cold is one brilliant example of the originality at work behind the bar. If you’re tired of the cold too, stop on by and try this cocktail of Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum, Atlantico Rum, Thai tea, Emperor’s jaggery, Clement Coconut, and condensed milk.
Sambar mixologist Clare Ward heads a cocktail program heady with spice, bitters, fermented ingredients, and exotic flavors, taking drinkers on a drinking tour of India. Tea lovers should check out the Darjeeling Express, made with Darjeeling tea-infused white whiskey, lemon, and a spiced honey reduction.
Mandarin Oriental, home of Mandarin Bar, is also home to a tea lounge, offering a selection of teas from around the world. Small wonder that tea-based cocktails are their thing — and they’re more than happy to make them yours, too. Give their Tea-Tini a try!
- 1 oz Bulleit Bourbon
- 3/4 oz Agave syrup
- 1/2 oz Apple juice
- 1/4 oz Lemon juice
- 1 oz House-made Jasmine Pearl tea
- Combine all ingredients in shaker.
- Shake, strain, pour and enjoy.
Mr. Grey might not appreciate you having more than one of these, but after more than one of these, would you really be charmed by his schtick? Besides, this recipe comes to us from the bartenders at Andiron Steak & Sea in Vegas, and we have it on good authority that what happens there stays there.
- 1 oz Tanqueray gin
- 3/4 oz Earl Grey tea syrup
- 1/2 oz Fresh lemon
- 3 oz Brut prosecco
- Combine all ingredients except prosecco and shake with ice.
- Add prosecco to mixture and strain into a chilled champagne flute.
If you’re looking for a spring punch that will serve you well into summer gatherings, look no further than this refreshing mint and lemonade libation.
- 3 large tea bags (or 12 individual) for iced tea (or purchase your choice of pre-made sweet tea)
- 4 cups Water
- 1 cup Sugar
- Fresh mint springs
- 4 cups Lemonade
- 1 bottle Dixie Mint Vodka
- 8 Lemon slices
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, then remove from heat and add in tea bags.
- Let tea bags steep for 5 minutes then remove.
- Stir in one cup of sugar until dissolved.
- Pour tea, lemonade and vodka into preferred punch serving bowl.
- Add additional 3 quarts of water and stir together.
- Muddle handful of mint leaves in a separate bowl and add to punch ingredients.
- Cover and chill until cool.
- Fill mason jars with ice and pour in tea, then garnish each with mint sprig and lemon slice.
Blind Spot knows a thing or two about tea cocktails. A speakeasy hidden behind a tea counter, the bar serves up beverages that take their inspiration from tea’s journey from Asia to Great Britain in the 1660s. They offer the tea-infused Camellia, Flame Nettle Fizz, Smoked Tea Collins and The 45, but for drinkers preferring something short and dry, they share the Prohibition-inspired Old Sparrow. (You know, for the diehard coffee drinking tea-teetotaller.)
- 45 ml Martell VSOP Cognac
- 30 ml Campari
- 30 ml Martini Extra Dry Vermouth
- 4 drops Orange bitters
- Combine all ingredients in a cocktail mixer with ice and shake until well mixed.
- Drain into a small sherry serving glass.
- Serve the remainder in a glass on ice.
With mulled cider and rooibos tea, this party punch can’t be beat during the cooler days of spring.
- 1 part No.3 London Dry Gin
- 1 part Rooibos tea (steeped and cooled)
- 1 part Mulled cider (cooled)
- .5 Clover honey syrup
- .33 part Cava
- Dash of Angostura
- Combine ingredients into a chilled punch bowl, ice and dilute appropriately, garnish seasonally.
If you take your black tea with lemon, try it with a bite, courtesy of bartender Zoe Hayes.
- 1/2 oz Montenegro Amaro
- 3/4 oz Lemon juice
- 1 oz Black tea honey syrup
- 1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse rye
- Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake, and pour into a coupe.