Tea and Alcohol
Tea is a versatile beverage enjoyed for thousands of years paired with a variety of food, flavors and tastes. As a beverage for socializing and relaxing, tea has been bringing people together since its origin.
Tea pairing could seem complex with much to learn and understand, but its multi dimensional nature help types of tea to be paired easily using a simple set of ‘rules of logic’. That is to identify the main ingredient of a food or beverage and complement or contrast the tastes found in tea to the food/beverage.
The same logic applies in tea mixology as well. Tea mixology is the art of combining tea with other ingredients harmoniously to produce tea inspired cocktails, mocktails and shooters. The versatility of tea allows it to be infused with almost all types of spirits and liqueurs. However, it requires the expertise and commitment of the mixologist to understand the unique identity of each tea.
For this to be achieved, the mixologist must understand the influence of terroir; of soil, moisture, wind conditions, sunshine and temperature which define the character of tea as the nature intended it to be. Camellia sinensis, the plant from whose tender buds are handpicked when making real tea, produces a spectrum of taste, flavour, strength, colour, aroma and texture.
Understanding the different types of tea and different flavours of tea is the most essential element in tea mixology.
White tea is pure, light and clean.
Green tea is vegetal, grassy, hinting of seaweed, smoky, light or heavy, fruity green.
Oolong tea is light, floral and sweet, dark and rich.
Black tea is fruity, earthy, malty, smoky, sweet, light, medium and rich.
Celebrity chefs have cracked the tea challenge in pairing Ceylon teas respectfully and harmoniously with spirits. Inspired by traditional ways of tea drinking, they have evolved the tastes to appeal to a more complex tea experience.
Dilmah tea mixologist Robert Schinkel has given a new twist to the conventional chai through the Chai de France. It’s a chai brewed on a Supreme Single Origin infused with Grand Marnier (a cognac based orange liqueur)
Similarly, Dilmah mixology expert Tomek Malek’s take on the classic daiquiri using the Dilmah Elixir Ceylon Tea with an added hint of thyme, honey and golden rum, has given a fresh taste experience to classic cocktail lovers.
One may wonder if tea mixed with spirits will neutralize its naturally healthy qualities. Mixing tea with spirits doesn’t take the natural goodness of tea away from it. It only enriches the tea drinking experience in a fresh perspective and adds a new dimension to traditional concepts of tea.