I confess: I tried to come up with 101 different iced tea cocktails, but the details kind of got blurry after 50. And I can’t even vouch for the last 25 of those. It’s a fact, though, that we have long used spirits and tea to enhance relaxation, so it was only a matter of time before someone realized that iced tea mixes well with liquor to make a delicious and sophisticated cocktail — plus there’s the added bonus of the health benefits from tea.
Blending tea with spirits is a special-tea, if you will, of tea sommelier James Labe. Inspired by the growing popularity of tea in the United States, he created a list of exceptional iced tea cocktail recipes that feature ZEN Green Tea Liquer. James’ ZEN, White and Blue Iced Tea Cocktail1 is certainly a refreshing and arguably patriotic way to celebrate Independence Day. Mixing up a pitcher of ZEN, White and Blue is as simple as combining 3 cups of prepared white tea (chilled), 1 1/2 cups ZEN Green Tea Liqueur, and 1 1/2 cups raspberry infused vodka. Throw some fresh blueberries into tumblers with ice, pour your ZEN, White and Blue Iced Tea over it and garnish with a sprig of mint.
Iced tea cocktails can be created with any kind of quality tea. The oolong from Golden Moon Tea is a wonderful base for an iced tea mixed drink, as is any tea with fragrant qualities. Darryl Robinson2 uses just such types of tea as well as fruit-infused teas in his iced tea concoctions. Try a Tropical Tea-se by pouring a shot each of coconut vodka and cream of coconut over ice, then top off the glass with mango pineapple tea. Or why not give a thirst-quenching sangria a go with the healthful qualities green tea provides? Accomplish that by putting ice cubes into wine goblets and filling them 1/3 of the way with sangria, another 1/3 with Chardonnay and topping them off with citrus green tea. Garnish them with lemon, orange and lime slices and you’ll never want sangria without tea again.
Motivated by these ingenious mixologists, I put an iced tea twist on a Blueberry Infused Vodka Lemonade3. Loving blueberries as I do, I couldn’t wait to try this luscious vodka lemonade recipe three different ways, but first I put 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries into a pint canning jar and filled it to the top with vodka. Before putting the lid on, I mashed the blueberries, then put the covered jar in the refrigerator for about 12 hours. (I know–tough wait!). When it was time to serve, I tossed 2 tablespoons of sugar with 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries and divided them between two glasses, then put some ice in on top. After straining the blueberries out of the infused vodka, I poured it into the glasses, filling them 1/3 of the way. The original recipe calls for you to top off the glasses with lemonade, but I also tried it with lemonade mixed with sun tea as well as with oh-so-healthy lemon green tea.
It should be apparent by now that the only limit to creating fabulous iced tea cocktails is your imagination. Give it a try yourself. Start off with your favorite drink, add any variety of iced tea or substitute it for an ingredient and see where it takes you. Get creative and throw in some coconut cream or mango rum and garnish your glass with a pineapple wedge and a paper umbrella. There’s nothing like having a scrumptious cocktail and enjoying it all the more because of the healthful attributes your favorite tea adds. I just have one request: let me know if you get past 50.