Tea cocktails, eh? After a few times hearing this new concept, I had to look into it. I am a big tea drinker and thought, sure! Why not? The first place that came to mind was Silk Road Teas, which is a tea shop and aromatherapy spa in Victoria. I contacted Daniela, the owner of the copy and she filled me in on why these delicious cocktails are making a splash all over….
Daniela, the owner and tea master at Silk Road was an absolute pleasure to speak with and boy oh boy does she know her teas! She explained that tea cocktails have really taken off in the last two to three years. The fact that the cocktail culture has grown so much in recent years has lent itself to the culture that is growing around tea cocktails.
Victoria is very much a tea city and has a strong tea culture itself. Daniela referred to it as kind of an east meets west fusion between the traditional British tea and the strong Asian culture that Victoria is known for. (If you are not aware, Victoria is the home of Canada’s oldest China Town!)
So, why are tea cocktails, outside of the fact that they are tasty, so popular? If anyone is up on their tea knowledge, they will know that in recent years we have seen so much more in terms of diversity of tea that is available to the public. We’re undergoing what Daniela called a tea renaissance. What some may not be fully aware of though, are the numerous health benefits that different teas provide. Some are high in antioxidants, others are high in vitamins and minerals, some teas claim to have anti-cancer properties and others boost mental and physical alertness.
One of the greatest advantages to tea cocktails is that depending on how you make the cocktail you can generally lower the alcohol content of the drink while still achieving a light, nice flavour. This is particularly important to us here in BC, as our drinking and driving rules have just recently changed. (Not that any drinking and driving should be condoned.)
Daniela likes the concept of tea cocktails because she is so passionate about tea and saw different applications for tea that others weren’t picking up on – like pairing together her favourite teas with her favourite cocktails! (Hello!? Perfect!) She also mentioned, which I have to completely agree, that tea drinking is very ritualistic. Those of us that are serious drinkers often have beautiful tea sets and possibly a favourite tea cup. We get enjoyment and pleasure out of brewing and sipping tea. There are also very similar ritualistic elements between tea drinking and cocktail drinking – the choosing of beautiful glassware, the presentation and sharing with friends.
One of Daniela’s favourite tea cocktail recipes is what she called a “Dark and Stormy”. She makes a chai simple sugar syrup, adds sparkling water and dark rum, whiskey or bourbon. That’s it! That’s as easy as it can be.
In addition to having a length conversation with Daniela, I was able to attend a tea cocktail workshop at Silk Road. There Lucia and her assistant Aliana made amazing cocktails. They used tea to infuse liquors to make the most delicious cocktails that I may have ever had. I’m not much of a gin and tonic type of girl but the bergamot infused gin and tonic with lime was delicious. My favourites were the coconut chai martini and white wine summer tea sangria.
For more information you have to get in touch with Silk Road in Victoria! They have the most amazing tea selection and hand blend all teas in house. They also have an amazing store with every tea accessory you could possibly imagine!