Us Brits just love a good cuppa, and that love affair don’t have to end after breakfast. In the world of cocktails, it appears that tea is the new black, popping up in all BarChick’s favourite bars all over town. BarChick has been studying hard, and has learnt all about the wonders of tea, and what makes them work so well in a cocktail.
Tea adds a smoky bitterness to balance out a drink, and can also be used as subtle flavoured way of lengthening a tall drink. Some bartenders infuse it into the base spirit, or brew and chill the tea and add it to the shaker, it works well each and every way.
NBF (new best friend) Henrietta Lovell, AKA ‘Tea-Lady‘, from London’s Rare Tea Company teamed up with Marcus from one of London’s most creative bars, 69 Colebrook Row. With their powers combined they’ve created the ultimate tea cocktail; breakfast just got better! Chilled Silver Tip White Tea is infused into the deliciously apricotty Vestal Vodka, and then simply shaken and served straight up in a Martini glass. It’s so clean and simple that it’s BarChick’s new drink for a detox; according to Henrietta it contains magical, anti-hangover properties thanks to the tea’s high level of antioxidants. It’s incredibly good for you.
This city is no longer just about the Earl Grey-tini any more, BarChick did a tea-trawl around town, and these are the our favourites:
THE PALATE CLEANSER
At the Worship Street Whistling Shop rude boy Ryan greets his guests with a glass of chilled house blended Brick Tea in lieu of water, it’s both a palate cleanser AND a blend of lime leaf, passiflora and gyokuro, the queen of green teas. It’s your only hope if starting a night out in East London’s dirty drinking dens.
Caravan in Exmouth Market has recently added two of our favourite tea offerings to their cocktail menu. The Rooibos White Rum Sour is a tannic-tastic twist on the original sour. Massive manuka honey heads should look no further that the digestif style ‘Manuka Flower Fino Martini’ which infuses vodka with Cornwall grown Manuka flowers, and comes served chilled with Fino sherry.
Glass teapots of tea infused liquors take center stage at Park Lane’s Bar 45, which if good enough for Brangelina, then is good enough for us. Manager Stefano infuses Tanqueray 10 with Earl Grey, vodka with mango tea, and Scotch whisky with super smoky Lapsang Souchong tea. Something for everyone.
Arachnophobics beware – Artesian Bar at the Langham Hotel has a Tea Punch on their menu made from Scorpion infused Cognac, with Velvet Falernum, Poire William and Sencha Tea, bugger the creepy crawlies, it’s amazing.
On a recent visit to hip hangout Hix Soho, Nick Strangeway was getting busy behind the bar making Breakfast Martinis, YES. It’s Compass Box Whisky, Hix Breakfast blend (a black leaf tea from Rare Tea Co), and marmalade, served straight up with a side of buttered marmalade toast. The “smoky tannins” in the tea are softened by the buttery toast, BarChick’s kind of breakfast, easy to turn into a lunch in here.
The Corinthia’s brand spanking new bar, Bassoon, serves a floral English Tea Punch: Lavender and Fennel Seed infused Vermouth, Gin, Mint Elderflower Cordial and Jasmine Tea; it’s almost good for you.
At the award winning, super speakeasy style musical den that is The Nightjar, Marian Beke is working on a hot sake based cocktail with super smoky japanese whisky, green tea and fresh yuzu. Served in a traditional Japanese tea set with bean filled Asian pastries on the side.
THE TIPSY TEA
So much more fun than the usual offering of soggy cucumber sandwiches and scones, the Gilbert Scott Bar at the superb St Pancras Hotel has paired brilliantly British bites with tea based cocktails for their ‘Taking Tea with George’ afternoon tea. Chuck some usually calming chamomile tea with cachaca and sparkling wine and you will not feel like sleeping. Sweet tea fans might fancy the white tea, gin, pineapple and honey cocktail. BarChick’s Granny loved the Earl Grey, Brandy, Amaretto and cream concoction, in fact she says she might serve it down the bridge club soon.
Daily from 12-4pm, 29pds.