black&white #21: An easy resolution
3 min steep
Happy New Year tea lovers. As 2022 gets off to a shaky start, we’ve also got Dry January to contend with. I think it’s a tough month to go into full denial but anything that helps cut out alcohol while still being playful, delicious and attractive works for me.
And yes, tea can do that. It’s a great base for non-alcoholic cocktails, and like wine, high grade teas pair beautifully with food. Here are some of our favourite ways to replace wine and spirits with tea.
Many top mixologists have used Canton teas on their cocktail lists, sometimes with award-winning results. The aromatic, floral notes of good tea make a great base ingredient. You can find all our recipes here, but see below for some of our favourites.
Earl Grey tea and tonic
One of the simplest drinks you can make from tea is an Earl Grey tea and tonic. Just brew the leaves, chill in the fridge, and top with a good quality tonic – it's a pretty good replacement for a pre-dinner G&T. Get the full recipe here.
This is a cheerful, alcohol-free alternative to sparkling wine that you can make with any of our teas or herbals. Just make a tea concentrate, chill and dilute with soda water. Here’s an example recipe to help you get started.
Recipe: Canton Sparkling Darjeeling
16 grams Canton Darjeeling
4 tsp agave syrup (or other sweetener)
1 litre of water
1 litre of soda water
Weigh out the tea and syrup into your brewing vessel, cover with 1 ltr of 90°C water and infuse for 3 minutes. Strain through a sieve into a storage container. Refrigerate until fully chilled.
Dilute tea concentrate with soda using a 1:1 ratio.
Matcha, apple and basil cooler
A gorgeously reviving and vibrant cooler to kickstart the new year. Just shake 1 tsp Matcha, 150 ml apple juice and crushed basil vigorously in a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour into a glass and top with fizzy/soda water. Full recipe here.
pairing tea with food
We said it before and we’ll say it again. Tea and wine have a lot in common. Both rely on the unique terroir of their provenance to create flavour, texture and mouthfeel – as well as the production methods and processing techniques. Many top chefs are now pairing their Michelin-starred menus with high grade teas. We’ve included some tips to help you get started below, but you can read our full guide here.
In general, light, floral teas like green tea go well with dishes you’d traditionally pair with white wine, like fish, seafood or fresh vegetable-based dishes. A green tea can also cut through the bitterness of dark chocolate or the high fat content of a double (brie, camembert) or triple-crème cheese (Brillat-Savarin, Délice de Bourgogne etc).
Because black tea is fully oxidised, it has many of the same notes as a red wine: tannic, smoky, woody and chocolatey or cocoa-like. Try to match the flavour tones of the tea to the food you’re serving; for example, a rich, hearty meat dish pairs well with the deep, malty flavours of Assam.
Oolongs vary greatly in depth and richness so matching oolongs with food can get more complex, but it’s all about experimenting. Cheese can also work wonderfully with oolong. For example, the sweet fruitiness and creamy mouthfeel of an Ali Shan complements the fresher cheeses like ricotta or burrata.
The sweet, delicate and full-bodied mouthfeel of a white tea like Silver Needle should be matched with lighter foods like delicate white fish and vegetables. It would also work well with fresh, creamy desserts and puddings.