What Bartenders Should Know About Tea

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Tea is one of the world’s most popular drinks. It’s also a versatile and flavorful ingredient that can (and should) be a part of every bartender’s arsenal, according to tea experts Robert Schinkel and Sarah Scarborough.

I talked to two tea experts who gave a Tea 101 education for bartenders, along with advice for how to incorporate tea into cocktails — at Tales of the Cocktail.

Bourbon Apple Tea Time Cocktail

This recipe uses “The Life of the Party” cocktail ratio from my book (3 parts strong, 2 parts sweet, 1 part sour). It’s the same one you’d use to make a Margarita, but this drink is nothing like a Margarita! Bourbon, apples, and tea … it all sounds so Southern (as in The South and not South of the Border). The flavors combine well for a lightly sweet and herbal cocktail with the heat of bourbon.

Bourbon Apple Tea Time
1 1/2 oz. bourbon
1 oz. honey-tea-apple syrup*
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice

Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

*Honey-Tea-Apple Syrup (enough for four cocktails)
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup honey
1 apple, chopped
1 Earl Grey tea bag

Cook water, honey and apples together in a pot. When it comes to a boil, turn off and steep tea bag in the mixture for five minutes. Pour in container and refrigerate until needed. When used in a cocktail, strain out the apples. You could even save the apples to use as a dessert topping.