Tea makes an appearance in a number of cocktail recipes and many of our favorites are flavorful, spiked takes on iced tea. These simple and delight drinks are the perfect way to combine cocktail hour with tea time. From boozy sweet teas to fancy little tea martinis, you'll have a ton of fun exploring the recipes.
Tips for Tea Cocktails
The beauty of the tea cocktail is that it can quickly be customized by choosing one type of tea or another. Perhaps you enjoy a particular green or black tea or... maybe lavender or lemongrass tisanes are your guilty pleasures. Feel free to experiment with any of these in any drink recipe. Granted, not all teas will work in every drink but, for the most part, the choice of tea is open to interpretation.
It's also important to pay attention to tea brewing times and temperatures to maximize the flavor of your tea drinks. The best thing you can do is to follow the brewing time on the tea bag you're using. They have it nailed, so pay attention and you'll always get a perfect brew to mix with.
You will also get the most flavors from your tea if you use the traditional hot brewing method. However, you do need to chill it before making a cold cocktail. The quickest way to do so is to place the brewed tea in the freezer for a few minutes. You can also place a tea-filled container in an ice bath for a quick chill or stick it in the refrigerator if you have a couple hours to spare.
01 of 12
Sweet tea is a favorite summertime drink and it gets better when we add a shot of liquor to the mix. As you will see with many of these recipes, the "sweet" can come from a variety of sources. One recipe may rely on a sweet liqueur while another asks you to make a unique flavored syrup.
This simple bourbon tea recipe gets really interesting when you realize that the sweetener is actually limoncello. While we often reserve this luscious citrus liqueur for sipping chilled or fancy... cocktails, it does wonders in a simple, refreshing drink like this.
02 of 12
A little Cognac in your green tea? The ginger tea recipe relies on a plain simple syrup and the mint and ginger are an extra bonus to kick up the flavor.
This is a perfect example of where you can use the recipe to either make the drink easier or to inspire new creations. For instance, flavoring your simple syrup with mint and ginger will save time when you make the next round and you'll find plenty of other drinks to use it in.
03 of 12
There's also no reason to stick with a tea straight from the bag. A recipe like this Kentucky tea asks you to build on the flavors of a mint tea during the infusion.
By adding lemon and eucalyptus to the average mint tea, you can easily put a cooling spin on a bourbon-spiked sweet tea. Once the tea brewed and chilled, the cocktail is as simple as a shot of bourbon and a little extra lemon.
04 of 12
Step away from the dark liquors and try adding a little gin to your sweet tea. It's the perfect complement for a British favorite like Earl Grey and this recipe is ideal for adding a twist to your afternoon tea.
To keep it authentic, choose a great London dry gin like Beefeater to go with your Earl Grey. Add a little lemon and a hint of sugar and a tall, refreshing glass of iced tea is ready. It's so easy, you also won't have any problems making a pitcher so everyone can enjoy.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
05 of 12
It's time to bring that tea experience to a new level by mixing it with a variety of ingredients. Quite often, the tea is a background ingredient that merely enhances the drink's other flavors.
The cherry bitch is a fun way to kick off this round of tea drinks. The recipe mixes a modern spin on gin and black currant tea with cherry, lime and apple to create the most interesting and complex cocktail.
06 of 12
When you're ready for an iced tea cocktail that is anything but ordinary, the Irish tea party is a fun one to mix up. While it is unusual, it remains incredibly simple, requiring just three ingredients.
Irish whiskey and absinthe create quite the spectacle in this iced green tea cocktail. The absinthe isn't strong though, so don't worry too much. It's used as a rinse to coat the glass with its bold anise flavor, a perfect complement to the whiskey and tea.
07 of 12
There are also times during the hot days of summer when you want a fruity sweet tea. The summer peach tea is a perfect recipe for such days and there's no need to hassle with fruit (unless you want to, of course).
For this one, you'll simply pour a shot of Canadian whiskey, then one of peach schnapps, which gives you both the sweetness and fruitiness the drink requires. Choose your favorite iced tea, though we do suggest a nice black like Darjeeling or Assam.
08 of 12
You love tequila, but did you think it would work in a tea cocktail? It does and the Jalisco high tea is a shining example of this perfect pairing.
The recipe opts for the light aging of a reposado tequila and the tea of choice is lemon verbena, which has a nice herbal-citrus zing. The sweetener is two-fold: a little simple syrup and a little Cherry Heering. The result is a very pleasant summer sipper.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
09 of 12
We also like to get fancy with our tea cocktails. The martini family of drinks is the perfect foundation for a spot of tea and a few extra ingredients transform these cocktails into delightful sippers.
The easiest among them is the aptly named tea tini. It's really nothing more than a vodka, tea, and lemon juice mix shaken, then served in a cocktail glass. Yet, the style of drink adds to its appeal and the simplicity begs for it to be altered to suit your taste.
10 of 12
You'll need to hunt down a very specific tea for this fancy little drink. It's a perfect recipe for the holidays and a fun twist on the average martini recipe.
The mistletoe martini requires a cranberry tea and you should be able to find at least one option at stores that stock a variety of teas. Add to that your favorite vodka and a little lemon and orange juice and it's done.
11 of 12
There are a few tea-flavored distilled spirits available. Though they are few, when a distiller decides to take on the flavor, the result is often quite magical. One shining example is Charbay's Green Tea Vodka, which has a true tea flavor and is a pure delight to mix with.
Alternatively, it's also very easy to create your own tea-infused liquors. Simply place tea bags in the alcohol and allow it to steep until it reaches your preferred taste (usually a couple of hours). As inspiration,... give this summer royale tea-infused Flor de Caña Rum a try in the mad hatter tea party cocktail.
12 of 12
Gin is another fantastic base for a little tea flavoring and the gunpowder gimlet cocktail thrives on its unique DIY infusion. You'd be surprised what a little green tea can bring to the botanical bouquet of a quality gin.
The recipe pairs green tea-infused Ford's Gin with a homemade salted pistachio honey. Both ingredients take only a couple hours, so you can prep them in the morning and they'll be ready for your summer afternoon tea.