As we step out of winter and look up to see the trees begin to fill in, we can’t help having another style of leaves flutter through our imaginations—tea! Whether the blend is earthy, herbal, or floral, there’s nothing quite like a steamy mug of it on a crisp morning or an icy glass in the afternoon sun, and the entire world clearly agrees.
From the humble tea houses of ancient China to the pristine parlors of Buckingham Palace, over the centuries tea has left a lasting impression on aesthetics and hospitality around the world. Even today, throughout Asia, the beverage remains a centerpiece of ornate familial celebrations. And, elsewhere, you might encounter more unusual ways to drink it.
For example, in Iran, tradition dictates it be sipped through a sugar cube clutched between one’s front teeth, and over in Morocco, you’ll find it minted and served three times to guests, with each round developing a different flavor over time. Tea can be bestowed with boba, used ceremonially as a traditional indigenous medicine in parts of South America, or simply left out in the sun to brew on its own natural schedule—an altogether impressive versatility that has made it the second-most consumed drink in the world, behind only water.
Given its wide-ranging global impact, we figure it’s high time to plant our own flag on delicious tea and present it the best way we know how: in the form of infusions and syrups, teamed up with vodka and an array of exciting ingredients for your cocktailing pleasure. We’ve all heard of tea for two, but this box makes a party you’ll surely want to join; Steeped in Vodka will arrive at your door ready to delight with tea for twelve! Subscribe now through April 2nd to get yours—it’ll ship the week of April 6th.
It happens to be the scientific name for grapefruit, but we also like to think there’s something about the words Citrus Paradisi that evoke the good vibes of a garden party bathed in golden sun or shimmering moonlight. Kellie Thorn’s effervescent cocktail takes a citrus green tea and pairs it with grapefruit to play off the botanical and slightly bitter qualities of aromatic tonic water. Fresh lime and rose water provide an added boost of refreshing flavor to a tall vodka cocktail that you’ll want to quickly bring along to your springtime oasis.
Kellie has been in the restaurant industry for nearly twenty years and bartending for the last seventeen. In 2010, she joined forces with star chef Hugh Acheson to open Empire State South and her success in the role soon led to being named beverage director for all of Acheson’s restaurants. In 2017 she was awarded the Les Dames D’Escoffier International Legacy Award, and in 2018 she was named one of Wine Enthusiast’s 40 under 40 Tastemakers.
Sother Teague’s spot of tea isn’t shy when it comes to conveying the rich and full flavors of orange pekoe. While the varietal’s name has nothing to do with the fruit orange—it actually refers to the grade and size of the tea leaves used to make this particular style of tea—his Knicker Twist still manages to radiate a rich color and citrusy essence after a hard shake with lime, vodka, and apricot jam. Keep those undergarments straightened as you’re sipping away and nibbling on the plump, spirit-macerated apricot on top!
Sother is the beverage director at New York’s Amor y Amargo, partner at Blue Quarter and Windmill, co-founder of NYC charity pop-up bar Coup, and host of The Speakeasy on Heritage Radio Network. In 2018, he was honored with Wine Enthusiast’s Mixologist of the Year award. He is the author of I’m Just Here For The Drinks and Let’s Get Blitzen.
A queen of old fashioneds graces us with her presence this month, thanks to East Coast bar industry veteran Tyler Hudgens. After an hour-long Earl Grey tea infusion, a proper stir swirls the Corgis & Crumpets together to boast the elegant flavors of bergamot, chamomile, and honey, and a finishing spritz of aromatic lemon oil and charming chamomile flowers provide a radiant crown on top. But do mind your manners, because the signature bite of vodka follows not too far behind.
Tyler is a former Navy brat who now calls Miami home. She ran a variety of beverage programs along the East Coast and overseas before joining Liquid Productions and adopting the role of traveling cocktail educator with Beverage Alcohol Resource 5-Day Certification Program, Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s conferences, Wine & Food festivals, and more.
Sign up now and you’ll soon be soaking up all that spring has to offer with tea-inspired cocktails deliciously Steeped in Vodka.
The Shaker & Spoon Team
*not vegan: chamomile-honey syrup