For some, tea is an incredible alternative to alcohol. For others, it’s simply an enjoyable drink. The latter of those two types of tea-drinkers often find they also enjoy tea cocktails, a flavorful mix of tea and alcohol.
There are many ways tea and alcohol can be combined to form sophisticated, complex tea cocktails. The most common method is to simply blend tea, alcohol and a mixer. Somewhat more complex methods include making a tea-infused liqueur or a tea-infused simple syrup before building the beverage itself.
A fun, simple and colorful method of making tea cocktails is to whisk matcha into an alcoholic drink. For a Saint Patrick’s Day cocktail, a bright green color is desirable, so I decided to go with this last method in coming up with a tea cocktail recipe to share with you here. It’s easy, tasty, energizing and a lot healthier than a Red Bull and vodka or an artificially colored beer. Check it out:
Saint Patrick’s Day Red & Green Ale
1 bottle Irish Red Ale with a bitter-sweet balance to it, like O’Hara’s, Smithwick’s, Diamond Bear or Goose Island Kilgubbin
1/4 teaspoon Samovar Organic Matcha, plus more for garnish
Rim a chilled beer glass with matcha (optional). In a small bowl, whisk 1 Tbsp beer and 1/4 tsp matcha until fully blended and very frothy. Pour the beer into the glass. Top with matcha-beer foam. Garnish with a dusting of matcha powder (optional). Serve immediately.
Matcha is traditionally paired with Japanese sweets called wagashi. This tea cocktail is a bit too bold for delicate wagashi, but it pairs well with Irish “tea brack,” also known as “barm brack,” a lightly sweet raisin bread/cake that’s traditionally served at Halloween and baked with surprises mixed in, like you would see in a Mardi Gras cake.
If you make your barm brack (pronounced “barn brack”) at home, be sure to use a good, strong black tea in the recipe, like Ancient Gold or Samovar Breakfast Blend, or brew Yunnan Golden Bud with extra leaves for a rich, sweet taste that echoes the raisins in the bread. (Side note: All three of these teas come from Yunnan, China, as did most early “Irish Breakfast” blends.)
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!
Lindsey “Vee” Goodwin is a professional tea writer and consultant. She founded Vee Tea, is a contributing editor to World Tea News, writes for non-industry publications about tea and writes web copy/press releases for tea companies. She is also a consultant to several tea companies and teaches about tea through staff training and individual/small group classes and tastings. Click here to reach her by email. .