Stir It Up: Exploring Cocktail Infusions

TWEET: What tea-based cocktails make their way into your martini glasses or champagne flutes?

Looking for a new cocktail for your summer parties? As tea lovers we’re usually happy to add another tea element to our events. Fortunately for us, New York-based company The Teaologist is the latest entrant into the specialty tea cocktail arena with their Owl’s Brew line.

Tea Forté was one of the early arrivals into that market more than four years ago. Tea Forté Cocktail Infusions are pyramid sachets containing tea and herbs designed to infuse in alcohol. Customers have been encouraged to develop new recipes for the Lavender Citrus, Silkroad Chai, and Lemongrass Mint pyramids and an online archive now includes gems like Chai White Russians, Lavender Pear Martinis, and Violet Lavender Gin Sours. It was a unique concept and introduced many to the idea of tea in our highball glasses.

Owl’s Brew takes a different approach, offering their teas as liquid mixers. They wanted the convenience of freshly brewed whole leaf tea and spices that were ready-to-pour.  There are three flavors currently: the chai and coconut-based Coco-Lada, a blend of Darjeeling, lemon, and strawberry called Pink & Black, and the Naked Arnold which combines English Breakfast tea and lemon zest. There are no artificial flavors and the mixers are sweetened with agave or stevia. They can be mixed with spirits including vodka, tequila, rum, or gin, or consumed on their own for mocktails.

Teaologist founder Jennie Ripps and co-owner Maria Littlefield both come from the marketing world. The cocktails evolved from drinks they made to serve at events they were producing. The tea cocktails made their debut at the NYC premiere of “Twilight: Breaking Dawn” and the response was immediate. The drinks were being requested by restaurants and nightclubs and for other events.

Ripps and Littlefield felt that there was a need for a lighter, healthier mixer and saw an opportunity to create new blends and flavor profiles designed specifically to pair with spirits. While Ripps and Littlefield believe that Owl’s Brew will be fun for people to use at home, they are also finding that many mixologists in restaurants and bars are coming up with creative uses for Owl’s Brew as an ingredient in cocktail creations.

Don’t worry if cocktail recipes don’t come naturally to you. The Owl’s Brew team supplies you with ideas on the bottles and more recipes will soon be available on their website.

Interested in giving Owl’s Brew a try? It goes on sale this month through their website, www.theowlsbrew.com, and in a variety of retail, restaurant, and club locations primarily in NYC.

LINKED IN: Are we taking the tea-infused product concept too far? Should we be placing more emphasis on encouraging appreciation for specialty tea on its own or are these products bringing new audiences to tea?

— Katrina Ávila Munichiello | ©Mystic Media 2013

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