Shaken, not stirred

Put the teaspoon down – tea is a perfect base for creative cocktails. Sophie Hudson treats her taste buds.
Photo by Gary Smith

Aany trip to your local café will tell you, there’s more to tea these days than English breakfast. Most good coffee shops – let alone dedicated tearooms – offer a variety of blends to suit any palate.

These increasingly diverse varieties have now started to find their way into cocktails, offering exciting ingredients for mixologists to put a new twist on classic recipes or create new drinks from scratch. “People want to try something different,” says Luke Baker, founder of the social enterprise Tea Lovers’ Company, which sources some of the finest teas from around the world. “You can see with the rise in popularity of different types of gins that people want to try new flavours. There are so many different types of teas, they enable people to experiment even more.”

Tea cocktails have become increasingly popular at the two London branches of Urban Tea Rooms. Customers often see them as a healthy alternative to other flavours, as well as giving them the chance to try something new. Here the team share some of their favourite tea-inspired concoctions.    

 

Chamomile sour

  • 50ml T.E.A Jasmine Gin
  • 25ml chamomile syrup
  • 25ml lemon juice
  • Egg white
  • 2 dashes orange bitters

Chamomile is traditionally a calming, cleansing flower, and this fresh reduction is perfectly lifted by the citrusy, floral notes of the gin. Egg white provides a smoothness, while the orange bitters add a final kick, making this one chamomile drink that won’t send you to sleep.

 

Chai basil mojito

  • 50ml Havana Club 3-Year Rum
  • 25ml chai and pineapple syrup
  • 25ml lime juice
  • 3 pieces of fresh pineapple
  • 4 basil leaves
  • 4 mint leaves

A summer twist on a mojito. Chai is full of exciting spices, including star anise, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. The warmth of these is perfectly paired with the basil, which cools the drink, the rum adds a subtle sweetness, and the pineapple and lime make it a refreshing tipple.

 

Crème du Earl Grey

  • 50ml T.E.A. Earl Grey Vodka
  • 25ml lemon juice
  • 25ml Earl Grey syrup
  • Egg white

The bergamot oil in Earl Grey offers a bright, floral note in this cocktail. This citrus is balanced by the creamy egg white, making a velvety smooth yet zesty twist on a classic sour. Enjoy it straight up or on the rocks.