Tea and alcohol, a great partnership

I have a weakness for people who try to marry two of my favorite beverages, tea and spirits.

Gary Regan, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, takes on the topic just as I did two summers ago in creating the Marteani, a refreshing green tea/vodka cocktail that excited some local interest among bartenders looking for a warm-weather special.

Regan, who writes a column called The Cocktailin, writes about Qi Lapsang Souchong Tea Liqueur, a product made by Qi Spirits, a new company in San Francisco. The liqueur is distilled by Lance Winters of St. George Spirits in Alameda, a partner in the new venture.

You can get the details by linking directly to the company or to Regan's column.

As noted, the California drink utilizes a commercial tea liqueur. My New York drink uses a commercial iced tea, Arizona brand green tea with honey and ginseng.

Here's the California recipe, adapted from a recipe by Kieran Walsh, bar manager at Solstice Lounge in San Francisco.


• 3 kumquats, halved (plus 1 kumquat for garnish)
• 1/3 oz. simple syrup
• 2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
• 2 dashes orange bitters
• 1 3/4 ounces Bulleit Bourbon
• 1/3 oz. Qi Tea Liqueur


Muddle the halved kumquats with the simple syrup and both bitters in a mixing glass. Add ice, the bourbon and the Qi liqueur, and stir for approximately 30 seconds. Strain into an ice-filled old-fashioned glass and add the garnish.

And, here's the New York recipe from my own adult chemistry set:


• 3 oz. Arizona Green Tea w/honey and ginseng
• 3 oz. all-grain vodka (Absolut, Blue Ice, Beldevere, etc.)
• 6 drops Angostura Bitters
• Splash of Galliano or Strega
• 2 orange slices
• 1 mint leaf


In a metal cocktail shaker, combine tea and vodka. Add bitters and splash of Galliano liqueur, or the more herbal Strega if you prefer, plus a handful of ice cubes. Stir briskly, then strain quickly into a frosted martini glass. Twist the juice from an orange slice into the drink and let it meander through the solution on its own. Garnish with an orange slice and a mint leaf for color.

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