Steeping tea in liquor to infuse the beverage with the plant’s flavorful qualities is a well-known culinary technique that has inspired a trend among mixologists.
“Tea is hot right now and so is craft distilling,” said Adam Seger, a mixologist and spirited entrepreneur in Chicago who has created a line of tea-focused liquors.
Recently, Seger teamed up with Rod Markus of Rare Tea Cellars in Chicago to produce an alcoholic beverage that combines the best of both their worlds. The result is Breakfast Any Time— a drink collaboration of Rare Botanical Bitters and the Koval Distillery. This spirit is made with Koval’s oat liquor, and two of Markus’ blends, Peach Rooibos and English Breakfast. The ready-made cocktail gets a dash of Burton’s Maple Syrup to add some “good morning” sweetness. In May, it will be available by the bottle for your breakfast table.
The idea sprung from Seger’s many projects involving infused liquor and making bitters with tea at home. In 2005, he fell in love with the Vintage Blood Orange Pu’erh from Markus’ company, and shortly after that, he started making cocktails and concoctions using other Rare Tea Cellars blend.
Pick a potent spirit; make sure it’s greater than 80 proof. Add four tea bags or four teaspoons of loose-leaf tea to the liquor. Seep for about two hours, depending on the strength of the tea. Strain through a fine mesh strainer.
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1.5 oz. Assam infused Brugal Extra Dry Rum*
.25 oz. Lemon Juice
.25 oz. Orange Juice
.5 oz. Honey Syrup
Shake and strain into a tall glass (Collins) with ice and fill with club soda. Garnish with an orange peel.
*Brugal Extra Dry Assam Leaf infusion