Signature Drinks: Tea Cocktails!

When you’re looking at how to serve drinks to your guests, you have choices.  The two most common choices at weddings are either to serve beer and wine, or to offer a hosted bar.  If you’re looking for more elegance than beer and wine, but less expense than a hosted bar, a fabulous alternative is to offer a signature drink!  I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Maleah Moskoff of Cha Cha Tea, LLC.  She sells wonderful organic fair-trade teas.  Once you’ve tasted her teas, you’ll never go back to grocery store bagged teas!  Not only does Cha Cha offer packaged teas as favors for guests, but she also can help you create a wonderful tea cocktail.  Here are some of her suggestions!


Tea Cocktails by Maleah Moskoff, owner of Cha Cha Tea, LLC.
Tea is a simple drink yet has complex flavors and a rich history steeped in traditions and culture. We at Cha Cha Tea like to honor the ancient beverage by educating consumers, but also playing with modern combinations and bringing tea beyond the tearoom and into the party. Experiment and have fun!
One approach to a tea cocktail is to simply add alcohol and other ingredients to brewed tea. It’s a time-honored practice dating back to 19th century America, when iced tea would be combined with fruit juices and spirits to create festive bowls of punch. More recent cocktails of the same type include the Royal Tea and the Blueberry Tea. The former is a chilled drink of equal parts brewed Earl Grey tea and gin with lemon juice and sugar; the latter is a blend of Grand Marnier, Amaretto and hot black tea. Another method that produces a more intriguing result is to steep the tea in the alcohol directly.
Serving a large party? Try cold brewing.
Hot steeping can extract too much of the harsh tannins too quickly, leaving the alcohol bitter. Infusing alcohol in advance is a twofold boon for service. Drinks can be made faster, and with more consistent results.  Do all the fussiness beforehand and do not burden your staff at service time. To do this, add 3-6 tsp. of loose tea to a good quality spirit and let infuse for 1-3 days.
1. Signature cocktail-Pretty in Pink
 As tea lovers we often take a back seat to other caffeinated drinks, but if you want to stand out above the rest offer a special cocktail that is simple, sweet and affordable.
Ingredients:
3 tsp. loose Strawberry Oolong
750 ml good quality Vodka like Death’s Door Vodka
2 bottles of Strawberry Juice from Trader Joe’s
*Optional- Club Soda
Sugar to rim glass
Strawberries to garnish
Directions:
Put the loose oolong in the vodka for 1 day. Leaves can remain in the bottle. Fill a cocktail shaker two-thirds full of ice and add 1 oz strawberry infusion,  4 oz.juice. Shake for approximately 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with the sugar. Add the strawberry. Enjoy!
2. Classic Cocktail-Earl Grey MarTEAni
Tea is the second most consumed drink in the world second only to water so why change a classic? Let’s just update an oldie, but a goodie. After all change can be good.
Ingredients:
1 1/2 ounces Earl Grey Gin Infusion
* 1/4 cup loose Earl Grey tea leaves
1 liter Tanqueray gin. Infuse for 3 HOURS only and decant or strain the leaves.
3/4-ounce fresh lemon juice
1-ounce simple syrup
1 lemon twist, for garnish
Lemon Zest Sugar, for garnish
*Mixed zested lemon rind with sugar
 Directions:
Fill a cocktail shaker two-thirds full of ice and add the gin infusion, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake for approximately 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with the Lemon Zest Sugar. Add the twist.
3. Iced Tea jubilee-Non-alcoholic
85% of the tea Americans drink is iced. So many flavors to quench your thirst and so very versatile and affordable.
Ingredients:
1 pouch of Blueberry Bliss Iced Tea (caffeine free)-makes 1 gallon
* ½ gallon of concentrate, ½ gallon for ice cubes
1 liter Club Soda
*Optional: ½ liter of Blueberry Stoli Vodka
1-pint Fresh blueberries for garnish
*Ice cubes can be made with the tea ahead of time
¼ c. agave nectar
Directions:
Make iced tea. 5 minutes to steep, add agave, cool for a couple of hours or overnight. Once cooled, add club soda. Add ice cubes to a glass, tea and garnish with blueberries. They can float on top or spear a few on a toothpick. 
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