What’s better than cocktails? Cocktails with tea, of course! I’m often disappointed by the renditions I’ve tried at trendy bars which totally hide the nuances that make specialty tea so, well, special. Raj and I have taken to our home kitchen to invent mocktails and cocktails that feature tea, and I’ve compiled some of our winners for you. See the "Pro tip" below each recipe for a non-alcoholic version.
What Alcohol Mixes With Tea?
When I first delved into at-home tea mixology, I wondered, “What alcohol pairs well with tea?” While I encourage lots of experimentation, I’m happy to save you some trouble and share my favorite combinations: whiskey or bourbon, vodka, rum, and white wine or rosé. If you create a recipe you love, share it in the comments below!
Indi Palmer Cocktail Recipe
Think of an Arnold Palmer with a boozy twist—a cocktail Raj dubbed the “Indi Palmer.” This refreshing combo of lemonade, black tea, and vodka honors Indi Khanna, our dear friend and tea making partner at Tea Studio in south India. It’s his team’s tea, Nilgiri Gold (formerly known as “Indi’s Gold”), that we use to make this Arnold Palmer cocktail truly special.
Makes two 7-oz. cocktails
- 1.5 heaping Tbsp. / 13 g. Nilgiri Gold
- 8 oz. hot water (210° F)
- 1/2 cup organic lemonade
- 2 oz. vodka
- 1 lemon
- Make a tea concentrate by steeping tea leaves in hot water for 4 minutes.
- Strain into pitcher or jar and put in freezer to chill (or make a few hours in advance and refrigerate).
- When tea has cooled, add lemonade and stir well.
- Fill glasses with ice. (We used a short, 10 oz.-tumbler, but highballs or mason jars work too. It depends on how much ice you’d like to use!)
- Top ice with 1 oz. vodka per glass.
- Pour half the tea/lemonade mixture into each glass and stir.
- Garnish with lemon slice. Serve and enjoy!
Pro tip: You can make this a mocktail (a non-alcoholic version) by swapping out the vodka for the same amount of brewed black tea in step 3.
Strawberry Basil Green Tea Cocktail Recipe
If you’re looking for drinks with green tea, this attractive beverage is one of our favorite tea-based cocktails because it’s pleasantly simple to make, and it accentuates the tea’s taste. This concoction carefully balances fruity, fresh, and leafy flavors. It's an intriguing libation that we've shared with many friends while hosting summer gatherings on our porch.
Makes one 5-oz. cocktail
- 1 Tbsp. Green Pearl simple syrup (see Basic Tea Simple Syrup Recipe and make with Organic Nepali Green Pearl)
- 3 organic strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 3 organic basil leaves, divided
- 2 oz./60 ml. vodka
- 1 lime
- Make Green Pearl simple syrup. Let cool.
- Add strawberries and basil leaves to cocktail shaker.
- Crush well with muddler or heavy spoon.
- Fill shaker halfway with crushed ice. Add vodka, syrup, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
- Shake well and strain into chilled cocktail glass.
- Garnish with wedge of lime.
Pro tip: You can make this a mocktail (a non-alcoholic version) by swapping out the vodka for the same amount of brewed green tea in step 4. I like to make this mocktail with Organic Nepali Green Pearl to complement the simple syrup flavor.
Black Tea Pear Sangria Recipe
This sangria, featuring an Assam black tea simple syrup and a direct infusion of black loose-leaf tea will hold up well refrigerated for three or four days. Any Darjeeling will work here, but our Organic Darjeeling First Flush highlights the tea's fruity flavors particularly well. We try to make paella about once a summer, and this has been our go-to accompaniment for years.
Makes 10 8-oz. cocktails
- 1 Tbsp. Assam Black simple syrup (see Basic Tea Simple Syrup Recipe and make with Organic Assam Black)
- 1/4 cup/10 g organic loose-leaf Darjeeling First Flush black tea
- 6 cups/1.4 L hot water (about 210° F/100° C)
- 1 (750 ml) bottle of vinho verde, or a nice dry white wine of your choice
- 3 organic pears, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 organic apple, cored and thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup apple brandy
- Make Assam black tea simple syrup. Let cool.
- Place Darjeeling tea leaves in large pitcher and pour boiling water on top.
- Steep for 3 minutes.
- Strain and discard leaves, then return liquid to pitcher.
- Let cool to room temperature.
- Add chilled white wine, pears, apple, apple brandy, and simple syrup to taste.
- Chill. (Overnight if possible, to give flavors time to meld.)
- Serve over ice.
Pro tip: You can make this a mocktail by swapping out the white wine for the same amount of brewed Darjeeling in step 6. I like to make this mocktail with Organic Darjeeling First Flush to complement the other flavors in the beverage.
Want To Try Other Recipes For Cocktails With Tea?
You might also enjoy:
- Masala Chai Popsicles
- 2 Tea Blends For Your Health
- 10 Books About Tea (Including One With Cocktail Recipes!)
Mitra Nite, Graphic Designer
Growing up in Persia, tea runs in Mitra's blood. But it was while living and working in the Pacific Northwest that she truly found herself immersed in the beverage and all its delicious forms, and she continues to be delighted by the international and cultural nuances that it represents. Mitra has been active as an artist and designer for most of her adult life, and is very happy to bring her passion for tea and design to Young Mountain Tea.