Tea is all about soothing flavor — flavor that whispers instead of shouting. It’s a subtle touch that adds a gourmet feel to other beverages, and can enable anyone to develop a signature drink that is truly unique.
And with so many types of tea to experiment with — green, black or oolong for purists, or flavored spice or fruit teas for nonconformists — you can enhance everything from lemonade and lemon drops, to hot chocolate and hot toddies. The vast array of flavor profiles offered by tea makes the possibilities nearly endless.
Add the fact that 87 percent of millennials drink tea according to the Tea Association of the USA (albeit mostly ready-to-drink or iced at this point), it appears that giving tea a sophisticated spot on your menu, with infusions, could be good business.
Start out slow and simple with your tea infusions, and see where the journey takes you. The basic Arnold Palmer is an obvious choice — half lemonade, half black tea. You can spice it up by infusing the black tea with berries. Simply steep sliced berries with the tea and remove them after chilling the tea.
Tea Infused Cocktails
Words like "smooth," "smoky" and "floral" might bring to mind bourbon, tequila or gin, but those terms can also describe roobios, green or black teas. The subtle similarities between teas and spirits make them perfect companions in a cocktail.
There are simple cocktails to try as well, such as a pu-erh old fashioned or a green tea mojito. These cocktails can involve adding an ounce or two of brewed tea (which has been chilled) to the beverage. But given that the water in tea will dilute the drink, you can get a little fancier by simply infusing a bottle of liquor with about three teabags — letting them sit in the bottle for 45 minutes to an hour. Try peach tea in rum, chamomile in tequila (which makes a great tequila sour), spice tea with bourbon or whisky, and just about any variety of tea with vodka.
Tea Infusions For the Daytime Crowd
And lest we forget about every coffeehouse’s core business, you can offer more than tea lattes — really. Try infusing cider with rooibos, or add mint tea to smoothies for a refreshing hit. Juices, and lighter sodas like ginger ale or club soda, are great bases for tea drinks as well.
One of the best things about a tea infusion is that the flavor it brings to a drink can minimize the amount of sweetener needed. Most tea-infused drinks call for a bit of simple syrup. Use a small amount at first, so as not to overpower the tea and other flavors.
Infusing drinks with tea makes them memorable, whether you’re creating them for your restaurant, bar, cafe or your home. You can find almost endless ideas online. Take this handy list from BuzzFeed, for instance. Or get lost in the flurry of tea-infused pins on Pinterest. And get to steeping, infusing, mixing and tasting.