Top teas for cocktails
Over the past couple of years, tea-infused spirits and syrups crept into the cocktail world have now become an essential ingredient on the finest cocktail menus.
Several top mixologists have used Canton in cocktail competition drinks, many have created Canton tea cocktails in their stellar bars and last year we knocked out some cracking recipes with our trade partners. Here we share our top teas for cocktail-making.
Earl Grey may be the old faithful of the mixologist, there's normal Earl Grey and then there's Canton Earl Grey. Cold-pressed Calabrian bergamot oil gives a punchy citrus kick, which is balanced by the smooth, rich black tea. This Earl Grey pairs beautifully with most of the spirit world. Why not shake it up a little like Double Standard at The Standard Hotel London, who used Canton Earl Grey to make a foam for their 'Red Grape Summer Tea Punch'.
Lapsang Souchong, on the other hand, needs more consideration. The Canton Lapsang Souchong originates from the remote Fujian village of Tong Mu where Lapsang Souchong was invented 400 years ago - and now a Unesco World Heritage Site. This distinctive black tea is smoked over pinewood embers and will lend a sultry, smokey depth to any whisky cocktail.
Other naturally flavoured black teas in the Canton catalogue also find favour with the imaginative mixologist. UK Coffee Masters Champion Jimmy Dimitrov of Clifton Coffee (pictured below) recently placed in the top four in the world with his signature drink, featuring Canton Mango Noir.
Pictured: Jimmy Dimitrov, photo credit Harrison Dowling Media.
As a category, oolong has the widest spectrum of flavours, from fresh-air flowery to roasted stone fruit richness. Canton Honey Orchid is a gamechanger for cocktails and is one of our favourites for cocktail-making. It's bright orchid and fruity peach notes pair beautifully with a classic, dry London gin. Canton Training Manager Carri keeps it simple and infuses 10g of Honey Orchid in 1 litre of dry gin for an hour to make her signature G&Tea.
Matcha, with its vivid green colour and umami flavour, is green tea in its purest and most intense form. And as a cocktail ingredient, it's super versatile and lots of fun. Our delicious Matcha Peachu recipe was created for a Canton cocktail competition back in 2014 by Monica Berg, the superstar owner of Tayēr + Elementary and the Bartender's Bartender of the Year 2020.
Canton Jasmine Pearls is another of our all-time favourite cocktail ingredients. It’s ethereal floral notes chime beautifully with most spirits, and it works brilliantly both as the standout flavour or as a more subtle undertone. The first time Dan Fellows won the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship in 2018, he used Canton Jasmine Pearls in his Japan-inspired cold designer beverage 'Kyushiki', a heady mix of coffee, Hibiki 12-year-old Japanese whisky, Umeshu plum liqueur, Gouveia Cachaca, yuzu juice and Kuro Sato – a Japanese black sugar. Oh, and of course, our beautiful Jasmine Pearls.
Deeply floral and aromatic, Canton Pouchong, the tea that inspired the creation of Canton over a decade ago, is a high-grade Taiwanese green tea that lifts any gin-based drink to spectacular levels.
Our Canton signature cocktail 'Lily the Peach' is gin-based with peach syrup and flash-chilled Canton Pouchong. And it's knock-down gorgeous.
Pictured: (Centre) 'Lily The Peach'
Our various herbal infusions and blends offer a huge range of cocktail-appropriate flavours. Our infusions are made from only natural ingredients, unlike other herbal teas which often use synthetic flavourings.
The bar team at Fenchurch Restaurant at London's Sky Garden use Canton Triple Mint to make their zingy Virgin Mojito.
Last year, Kate Barnett, Chief Stewardess of luxury superyacht M/Y Cheetah Moon won the MYBA Art in a Glass competition with her 'Gin T' recipe, featuring Tanqueray No. 10 Gin infused with Canton Lemon Verbena.
So, what are you waiting for? Start experimenting with your favourite teas and spirits, and turn tea-time into cocktail-hour. Our full collection of teas, blends and infusions can be found here.