For Jane Danger, a New York City mixologist and beverage director at Cienfugos and Mother of Pearl, tea is an ideal ingredient for cocktails.
“I like using Teavana tea because they have such a vast array of versatile flavors,” she said. “Bitters have become a really big part of cocktail creation in recent years. The spices found in tea can be leveraged in a similar way that gives drinks much more dimension.”
With entertaining in mind, Teavana asked Danger to develop cocktail recipes perfect for sharing with family and friends during every holiday occasion – from a festive dinner to an ugly sweater party.
Her first suggestion is to prepare some ingredients days, or weeks, before the event. “Syrups and purées are easy to make, so you can whip them up ahead of time,” she said. “They keep beautifully in the refrigerator for two to three weeks.”
When it’s time to start mixing, Danger advises, “It’s good to start with the juices and syrups, then move to modifiers and finally to your base spirits,” Danger said. “Build slowly, using small amounts at a time. You can add more of an ingredient, but you can’t take it away, so take your time.”
Customers can try their hand at mixology with these five cocktail recipes that Danger created, using sweet and spicy Teavana teas.
White Chocolate Peppermint Mar-TEA-ni
Danger selected Teavana® White Chocolate Peppermint Rooibos Tea as a key ingredient in her holiday martini recipe because of its traditional, festive flavor.
“I’m a big fan of peppermint ice cream and White Russian cocktails, so I thought it would be fun to have a drink with a float of cream on top,” said Danger. “There’s a separation of flavors when you first take a sip and then they combine together and it’s so delicious.”
1 ounce loose-leaf Teavana® White Chocolate Peppermint Rooibos Tea
8 ounces heavy cream
1 teaspoon of Teavana® Belgian Rock Sugar
2 ounces aged rum
¾ ounce coffee liqueur
Start by making a White Chocolate Peppermint Cream. Add 1 ounce of loose-leaf Teavana® White Chocolate Peppermint Rooibos Tea and 8 ounces of heavy cream into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and let the tea and cream steep for 20-25 minutes. Next, fine strain the mixture through wire mesh or a cheese cloth, pressing as much liquid from the tea as possible. Let it cool in the refrigerator for one hour in a squeeze bottle. Before using, add 1 teaspoon of Teavana® Belgian Rock Sugar to the squeeze bottle and shake for one minute to aerate.
Assemble the White Chocolate Peppermint Mar-TEA-ni by adding 2 ounces of aged rum and ¾ ounces of coffee liqueur into a mixing glass and stir for 20 seconds. Strain into a coupe glass and add 1 ounce of White Chocolate Peppermint Cream on top of the glass using a bar spoon to allow it to float on top.
Ruby Spice Punch
Danger enjoys creating punch because of its versatility.
“You can make enough punch for two people or double it up and make enough for a whole party,” she said. “The pomegranate from the tea in the Ruby Spice Punch is a great alternative to those red summer fruits that people crave, but are now out of season, like strawberries and raspberries.”
8 ounces loose-leaf Teavana® Ruby Spice Cider Tea
8 ounces water
8 ounces Teavana® Belgian Rock Sugar
6 ounces cognac
3 ounces lemon juice
2 ounces ginger juice
6 ounces sparkling wine
Start by making a Ruby Spice Tea syrup. Combine 8 ounces of loose-leaf Teavana® Ruby Spice Cider Tea Blend with 8 ounces of water and 8 ounces of Teavana® Belgian Rock Sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes, let sit for 20-25 minutes and then fine strain.
To create the Ruby Spice Punch, stir together the Ruby Spice Tea syrup, cognac, lemon juice, ginger juice and sparkling wine into a mixing glass. Strain into a punch bowl over large ice cubes. Yields four servings.
Carrot Caramel Almond Twist
Danger encourages budding mixologists to look for ingredients that provide a particular taste, but also satisfy a need.
“People are often health-conscious, so it’s nice to take a vegetable and make what’s perhaps a fresher holiday cocktail,” she said. “I see a lot of carrot, apple, orange drink combinations at the grocery store, so I think people are ready for carrot in a cocktail. This drink will remind you of carrot cake or roasted carrots with a spiced glaze.”
1 ounce loose-leaf Teavana® Caramel Almond Amaretti Tea
8 ounces Teavana® Belgian Rock Sugar
8 ounces water
¾ ounce carrot juice
¾ ounce lime juice
¾ ounce aged rum
¾ ounce dark rum
Start by making a Carmel Almond Amaretti syrup. Combine 1 ounce of loose-leaf Teavana® Caramel Almond Amaretti Tea, 8 ounces of Teavana® Belgian Rock Sugar and 8 ounces of water in a saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes then let steep for 20 minutes and fine strain.
To make the Carrot Caramel Almond Twist, combine 1 ounce of Caramel Almond Amaretti syrup with the aged rum and dark rum then shake in a mixing glass on large ice. Fine strain into a Belgian glass. Top with ice cubes and garnish with straws, carrot wheels, a halved vanilla bean and a lime wheel.
Coconut Gingerbread Crush (Mocktail)
Danger often takes cues from foods or classic drinks when creating cocktails.
“The Coconut Gingerbread Crush was inspired by a Puerto Rican or Cuban Coquito, which is similar to eggnog,” she said. “The Gingerbread cuts some of the sweetness of the coconut and gives it a really nice body. Using coconut allows people who are vegan or lactose intolerant to enjoy a creamy beverage that’s not too sweet or rich.”
2 ounces of loose-leaf Teavana® Gingerbread Black Tea
1 quart of coconut purée
¾ ounce pineapple juice
¾ ounce orgeat syrup
¾ ounce lime juice
Start by making a Gingerbread Coconut Purée. Warm 2 ounces of loose-leaf Teavana® Gingerbread Black Tea and 1 quart of coconut purée on low heat for 10 minutes. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes with lid on then let sit overnight (8-10) hours in refrigerator. Fine strain.
To create the Coconut Gingerbread Crush, add 2 ounces of Gingerbread Coconut Purée together with the pineapple juice, orgeat syrup and lime juice, then whip with pebble ice. Pour in snifter glass and add more pebble or crushed ice to the top. Garnish with a flower, almond cookie and straws. To make a traditional cocktail, invert a miniature bottle of rum into the glass.
Cococaramel Old Fashioned
For Danger, presentation is key when mixing cocktails.
“When you’re making the flamed orange twist to garnish this beverage, use a lighter or match to warm the orange peel and squeeze it slightly over the drink, like expressing lemon peel over a martini. The oils from the peel will caramelize over the flame and onto the top of the drink to give it another caramel note without adding more sugar.”
2 ounces of loose-leaf Teavana Cococaramel Sea Salt™ Herbal Tea
750 milliliters of bourbon (any brand)
½ ounce bitter Italian orange spirit
½ ounce sweet vermouth
Start by making a Cococarmel Sea Salt Bourbon. Mix 2 ounces of loose-leaf Teavana Cococaramel Sea Salt™ Herbal Tea with 750 milliliters of bourbon. Let steep for 30-45 minutes then fine strain. To create the Cococarmel Old Fashioned, add 2 ounces Cococaramel Sea Salt Bourbon with a bitter Italian orange spirit and sweet vermouth into a mixing glass and stir with ice. Strain over a large piece of ice. Garnish with a flamed orange twist.
Jane Danger was compensated by Teavana for her contribution.