Inspired by the famous Garden’s Secret made from rare Swedish tea and a blend of liquors garnished with the world’s cutest little flower. I tried to recreate a variance at home using Highland Organic Red Tea.
I found this TeaFinest Red Tea works best as a cocktail base. Grab a pitcher and fill it half with cool, filtered water. Steep 3 times each for 2 capsules. If you like your tea to be stronger, feel free to use another capsule.
Put the jar in a sunny outdoor spot where it won’t get knocked over, and let it sit outside all day. Refrigerate overnight and you’re ready to go. This makes an especially bold and flavorful tea; plus, it’s kind of fun to watch the color develop over the course of the day.
Once you have your tea brewed and chilled, it’s time to start playing. Rum and whiskey both work really well with many types of tea, especially more traditional favors such as black tea blends. Gin tends to complement green tea and herbal tea blends, and even tequila is a possibility. A polite suggestion — skip the vodka this time around. You’re looking for favors that enhance each other, rather than trying to mask the alcohol like we all so often do with vodka. In other words, you’re making a relaxing drink to savior; you’re not going to all this effort just to race to the bottom.
After you’ve found a basic pairing that you like (which will likely take a couple of attempts), think about what else it needs to be elevated to cocktail status (rather than just boozy tea). Take a look at the ingredients you already have in your kitchen. Honey or agave will add sweetness and viscosity to a bitter blend (and are traditional for tea, anyway). Other ingredients to consider are bitters, liqueurs, fruits or berries, and herbs (such as mint or basil). If you want a refreshing summer sipper, add a splash of seltzer or club soda. Let your base pairing of tea and liquor be the star, but don’t be afraid to try to create something that’s perfect for you.
One more thing — if you stumble upon a combination you really like, write it down so you can remember it. I hardly ever do that, though; the experimentation and element of surprise make it more fun. (And here I must apologize to my sister-in-law, who still occasionally reminisces fondly about a tea and whiskey blend we concocted last summer. We have no idea what was in it; in fact, I suspect it contained the dregs of several different iced teas mixed together and whatever was left in our brown liquor bottles. Don’t be like us.)
As always, have fun and enjoy!
Suggestions for garnish:
- Fancy sugar cubes
- A sprig of mint, basil, or rosemary
- A wedge of lemon
- A twist of orange zest
- Edible flowers, such as hibiscus (if you’re throwing a fancy party)