It's Oolong Thyme! A Tea Cocktail for the Holidays

Tea offers a variety of flavors, which can pair beautifully with botanicals, fruits and, yes - spirits. This holiday season, I've been playing around with festive tea-infused cocktails and here is my favorite, which I like to call: It's Oolong Thyme!

A refreshing and fruity cocktail that is reminiscent of a crisp autumn day, this light and complex infusion just keeps on giving. With multiple layers, it has a beautiful fruity-floral aroma and a deep oolong aftertaste that lingers on the palate. 

Pear is such a lovely fall flavor, and the thyme adds a touch of freshness that is irresistible when combined with the herbaceous characteristics of baozhong oolong. This tea cocktail is easy to prepare, and since the ingredients can be mixed together in a pitcher, it’s holiday-perfect. 

It's Oolong Thyme! 

*serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 15g Baozhong, or any other light oolong tea with vegetal and floral notes, like High Mountain, or a modern-style Tieguanyin
  • 3 cups water (700ml)
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 1 ripe but firm pear, thinly sliced
  • 12 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier, or any other orange-flavored liqueur
  • 1 bottle sparkling wine, chilled (champagne, prosecco, etc.)

Instructions:

  1. First, cold-brew the Baozhong in a pitcher: Add the tea leaves to 3 cups of room temperature water and refrigerate for 6 - 8 hours.
  2. In a separate pitcher, combine apple juice, pears, thyme and liqueur. Stir together, then refrigerate for 2 - 4 hours to allow the pears and thyme to infuse the juice with flavor.
  3. Discarding thyme, divide the liqueur infusion between 6 champagne flutes. Add cold-brewed tea, and fill the remainder of each glass with champagne (2 parts liqueur infusion, 1 part tea, 1 part champagne). Stir together and garnish with a fresh sprig of thyme. Cheers!

For a festive mocktail, substitute Gran Marnier with orange juice, and instead of champagne, top it off with a splash of soda water.

Cold-brewed Baozhong: A soft, elegant and floral brew that brings to mind a fresh garden in bloom.

The liqueur infusion! Fruity and delicious, one sip - with its ripe pear, apple juice, fresh thyme, and orangey goodness of Grand Marnier - fills us with holiday warmth.  

Cheers! The perfect sundowner.

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This recipe was adapted from this post by Camille Styles. 

Thoughts

Have you ever made or tasted a tea-infused cocktail? Feel free to share your experience below!  

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