Tea has a formal reputation. One of raised pinky fingers, bite-sized sandwiches and a quiet setting. While those things are an apt description of your traditional afternoon tea service (which is becoming quite popular in its own right) they definitely fail to describe one of the newest ways tea is being utilized. Cocktail aficionados are starting to use tea as liquor infusions and as cocktail bases to create a wide variety of unique drinks. The flavor profiles of tea are so varied you can use it to complement just about any liquor, ranging from chamomile-infused gin to chai tea and whiskey. There are plenty of restaurants around town catching on to the trend, offering their own unique takes on this increasingly popular cocktail ingredient.
Lotus: With their focus on utilizing fresh natural flavors in their beverages, it is no surprise that tea-infused drinks pop up in a couple places on their cocktail menu. Tom’s Tea Ball is a mix of Ransom Old Tom gin, honey, simple syrup, matcha tea, soda water and mint. The matcha (a powdered green tea) is a perfect complement to the gin and sweetness of the honey and simple syrup creating a nicely balanced springtime cocktail. Their chamomile negroni has a totally different flavor but incorporates tea flavors in a way that rounds out the drink nonetheless. This negroni features chamomile-infused gin, Campari, dry vermouth and sweet vermouth. It is a perfect sipping drink to enjoy on a sunny day perched on their second floor patio.
Local: Known for their great cocktails and amazing food, Local doesn’t disappoint with their tea-infused drink. On the High Teas features chamomile tea-infused rum, hibiscus syrup, and house-made ginger beer. This drink is fragrant and flavorful with a distinct chamomile flavor
The Rose: The premier place for cocktails in Jackson offers a bold take on a tea-based beverage. The Granny Mack features Rittenhouse rye, chai tea, punt e mes, ginger, and lemon and is served hot. The flavors of the chai do a great job at mellowing out the whiskey notes to create a well balanced winter warmer.
The Handle Bar: Most people are familiar with hot toddies in some form or another. This warm drink usually served in the winter months consists of some sort of liquor (usually whiskey or rum) lemon, honey and hot water. The loose recipe allows for plenty of customization. The Handles Bar’s take on the classic is one of the tastier iterations around. The simple mixture of scotch, earl grey tea, honey and lemon is great to warm the hearts and stomachs of anyone needing a quick break on the slopes.
The Spur: This Teton Village après spot is full of great cocktail choices after a day of skiing. While most of us gravitate to the warmer options, it is hard to beat a tried and true classic. The Daly Drop is the Spur’s take on a John Daly, incorporating whiskey infused with a splash of iced tea or lemonade. It is as simple as it is delicious.