Rich in antioxidants and aromatic flavors, tea cocktails are making a splash on menus across North America. Here’s a look at 11 restaurants serving these trendy tipples.
Market Punch at Mattie’s at Green Pastures, Austin, Texas
Mattie’s Market Punch is mixed with gin, guava jelly, mint marigold, grapefruit, herb tea wine, and fruit and is served in vintage copper bowls or a teapot for two. “Tea is an incredibly traditional ingredient in punch and has been used for hundreds of years to add tannins, dilution, body, and flavor,” says Jason Stevens, director of beverage and bars. “At Mattie’s, our Market Punch is a combination of this centuries-old punch know-how with the lighter cotillion punch style of the forties and fifties.” Make a reservation at Mattie’s at Green Pastures.
Q 1908 at Q at the Empress – The Fairmont Empress Hotel, Victoria, British Columbia
Afternoon tea at the Empress overlooking Victoria’s Inner Harbour is a proud tradition, and cocktails have also been part of The Empress’ hospitality since it opened in 1908. To celebrate the hotel’s restoration, Fairmont Empress partnered with Canadian small-batch distiller Victoria Distillers to create Empress 1908, a color-changing, all-natural gin that uses pure Canadian water blended with Fairmont Empress Blend Tea, juniper, grapefruit peel, coriander seed, rose petal, butterfly pea blossom, ginger root, and cinnamon bark. When combined with citrus or tonic, Empress 1908 changes from bold indigo to soft pink. The Q 1908 includes Victoria Gin, butterfly blue pea flower, egg white, and lemon. Make a reservation at Q at the Empress – The Fairmont Empress Hotel.
World Famous at Arroz, Washington, D.C.
“For the World Famous, we wanted to create a Tiki-style cocktail introducing fresh coconut,” says Taha Ismail, beverage director for Mike Isabella Concepts, which owns Arroz. “We use baby Thai coconuts that we char and incorporate into the drink with lemon, nutmeg, and cinnamon for a twist on a Pain Killer. Since tea is often a component in Mediterranean cuisine, we also looked to chamomile-infused bourbon to bring in these flavors.” Make a reservation at Arroz.
Tiki Rum Collins at Stagecoach Inn, Salado, Texas
Plantation Star Rum, pineapple, vanilla chai tea, lemon, and falernum mix the tropical with Southern tradition. Bar director Topher White says the drink calls to mind iced tea or lemonade on a breezy porch. “The tea elevates the idea of iced tea while anchoring nostalgia to the beverage. The crispness of the lemon juice is refreshing, the island spices add depth, and the blend of rums provides a richness and warmth.” Make a reservation at Stagecoach Inn.
Shen Nong’s Elixir at Red Star, Portland, Oregon
Inspired by the Japanese tradition of pairing whiskey and tea, Brandon Lockman, Red Star’s lead bartender, created Shen Nong’s Elixir using hot jasmine tea, Woodford Reserve bourbon, apple cider, and agave syrup. The drink is strained into a tall Collins glass and garnished with an apple wheel, giving it a fall twist. Make a reservation at Red Star.
Bourbon Cocktail at Kettle Black Restaurant, Los Angeles, California
Bar manager Jordan Young says, “The bourbon cocktail idea came to me as I was walking around Little Tokyo eating, drinking, and checking out shops. I was looking through some roots and found taro and gobo roots and wanted to make something with them. I had just eaten soup that had gobo in it, so I decided to steep the roots and make them into a cordial.” This teatail includes bourbon, di sarrano, taro-gobo cordial, tea, and lemon. Make a reservation at Kettle Black Restaurant.
When Life Gives Ya… at South Water Kitchen, Chicago, Illinois
This drink includes Grey Goose, undiluted lemongrass green tea, simple syrup, housemade honey shrub, fresh lemon juice, and egg white served in a punch glass and garnished with three olive oil drops and edible flowers. “This is a spiked ‘tea time’ cocktail that pairs the classic flavors of tea, honey, and lemon with a frothy fizz,” says head bartender Melissa Carroll. “The light taste of green tea makes this an easy sipper.” Make a reservation at South Water Kitchen.