Chilly temps call for a brew of festive colors that can be served hot or cold at your next holiday party. We like a tea cocktail that is simple to put together and avoids added sugar (beyond the alcohol, that is). Here are three simple ways to treat your guests to a bespoke cocktail, chez vous.
Choose A Seasonally Flavored Tea
We used the Southern Hot Toddy herbal tisane from Lily Rose Tea Company, sold out of Blue Ridge Apothecary in Pine Mountain, Georgia. Just look at those chunks of dried fruit medley that give off a fall feast aroma. Because this is the base of the cocktail, choose something that smells delicious to you and recalls fond holiday memories.
Don’t Make This Mistake When You Prepare the Tea!
On the first steeping, we forgot to make a concentrated brew, so when we iced it, our first taste testers reported it tasted like water. Ahem, please excuse. Here’s how to get it right:
- For a hot brew, use 1 tsp. tea per 8 oz. of water, plus 1 extra tsp. tea for the pot.
- For either of our iced suggestions, double the amount of tea, using 2 tsp. tea per 8 oz. of water, plus 2 extra tsp. tea for the pot.
- If you are using an herbal tisane as we did (without actual tea leaves), steep as long as you like to get the most flavor. Unlike black teas which can become bitter if steeped longer than 5 minutes, you don’t have to worry about herbal teas becoming bitter when left to steep onwards.
- For a big batch, we suggest using a medium to large infuser as pictured above — no more than half full to give the tea room to expand — that you sink into a large pot of just-boiled water.
Preparation #1: Some Like It Hot
Simply prepare the tea based on the quantities above and allow guests to splash in their favorite liquor for a hot toddy. Suggested spirits: bourbon, whisky, vodka or rum.
Preparation #2: Straight Up
You have two choices for this method:
- Steep the tea the morning of or night before you plan to serve, leaving time to fully chill in the fridge. If you do it this way, brew using the normal ratio of 1 tsp. tea per 8 oz. water, with an extra teaspoon tea for the pot. When it’s party time, simply add chilled tea, liquor and ice to a tumbler, shake and pour out.
- If you’re more the procrastinating type, make a concentrated brew, doubling the tea to 2 tsp. tea per 8 oz. water plus 1 or 2 tsp. extra tea for the pot. Let cool to room temperature, then shake in tumbler with liquor over ice and pour.
Preparation #3: On the Festive Rocks
We served this tea at our annual Halloween party, so it was time to pull out the mini pumpkins ice cube mold. We froze apple cider in it the day before the party, but you can choose any fruit juice that fits with your tea’s flavor profile. Making your own ice cubes from fruit juice is an easy way to introduce a complementary flavor and a bit of sweetness to your tea cocktail.
For this preparation, again use a concentrated brew, with 2 tsp. tea for every 8 oz. water and 1 or 2 extra tsp. tea for the pot. Let it cool to room temperature. Then simply pour tea and spirits over your homemade ice cubes and serve.
Happy Autumn! Whether you serve these tea cocktails iced or hot, we hope they keep you warm inside and put a smile on your guests’ faces. Enjoy!