Southerners love tea, especially when it is cold and sweet—making tea-based cocktails a fixture in many households.
Here are four of our hot and cold favorites.
In the spirits world, Kentucky is synonymous with bourbon, but that isn’t the only distilled liquor made there. Many Bluegrass distilleries make vodka and gin, some folks in Danville are making cachaça, and Louisville is crowned with the brandy-making Copper & Kings.
The Ballad of Earl Grey and Chamomile
- 2 oz. Copper & Kings American Apple Brandy
- 4-5 oz. Earl Grey Tea
- 1/2 oz. honey syrup
- 4 Chamomile pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 lemon peel
Preparation: Warm mug with hot water. Build ingredients in warm mug and top with tea. Stir and garnish with lemon peel, cinnamon stick, and chamomile pods.
The Wigle Distillery’s tasting room in Pittsburg sports a perpetually evolving cocktail menu, one that raises eyebrows for having not just one but a few tea-based and -derived cocktails.
Gentleman And A Scholar
- 1 oz. Wigle Ginever
- 1/2 oz. Wigle Limoncello
- 1/2 oz. lemon juice
- 1/2 oz. simple syrup
- 1 1/2 oz. Earl Grey Tea
- 3 dashes Wigle Pomander Orange bitters
Preparation: After brewing tea and letting it cool, add gin, limoncello, lemon juice, simple, Pomander Orange bitters, and tea in a shaker. Add ice and shake for 10 seconds. Strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass and garnish with an orange wheel.
An old joke about Southerners and sweet tea goes like this. “How much sugar do I use in the sweet tea? Answer: Until it’s sweet enough. You can do interesting things with sweet tea in both cocktails and cooking. Peach tea, on the other hand, is something to adore in the summertime.
The Peach Tree
- 2 parts D’usse VSOP Cognac
- 1 part crème de peche
- 2 parts sweet tea
- 1 lemon wedge
Preparation: Add D’usse, crème de peche and sweet tea into a shaker with ice. Squeeze in lemon wedge. Shake and pour into a Highball glass.
Last but not least is a riff on that most Kentucky of drinks, the Mint Julep, that brings in some Earl Grey.
Earl Grey Mint Julep
- 4 1/2 oz. of bourbon
- 6 sprigs of mint
- 6 oz. cold brewed Earl Grey Tea
- 3 oz. of Earl Grey simple syrup*
Preparation: Mix the bourbon, half mint sprigs, Earl Grey Tea, and Earl Grey simple syrup, then mix in crushed ice to fill a serving pitcher. Pour into julep cups and use the other half of the mint sprigs to garnish. *Earl Grey simple syrup: steep one bag of Earl Grey tea in hot simple mixture for every cup of water you use.