Why tea is one of the hottest ingredients in low and no cocktails
Well fancy seeing you TEA here! And we’re not just talking about our East Forged nitro-infused cold brewed teas 🙊
The proof that the humble tea plant is a superstar ingredient can be seen in its use by bartenders and mixologists around the world. Whilst tea has a long history on the back bar it is experiencing a spectacular rise in no and low ABV (alcohol-by-volume) drink lists.
Why are hospitality professionals diving into the world of tea when it comes to creating mocktails, zero proof, temperance, boozeless or spiritfree drinks?
Whether the creator is looking for notes of dried herbs, vegetables, fresh flowers, cream, exotic fruits, smoke, toast or cocoa the world of tea is deep and rich and will likely have an answer. Learn more about the art of tea here.
Why use ‘tea’ in your non-alcoholic cocktails?
Recently we tuned into a masterclass “A Guide to Low and No Cocktails” with the Diageo Bar Academy. Award-winning bartender and bar owner, Ryan Chetiyawardana (AKA Mr Lyan), speaks about the role of alcohol as an ingredient and considerations in designing a drink when it is removed.
“…the beauty of booze is it’s really good at grabbing hold of flavour but it also brings out mouthfeel and weight and bolsters everything else. So if you’re not putting the alcohol at the heart of the drink what else can you do to create that satisfaction that you still want these drinks to feel as adult and nuanced and considered as our boozy drink.“
So, where does tea fit in the creation of low and no cocktails? The case for tea lies in its chemistry! Without going into all-out tea geek mode 🤓 It is the pseudo-tannins or the polyphenols that can be found in tea that creates structure and length in the absence of alcohol. Resulting in a liquid that provides grip and texture in the mouth to add complexity and layering. Caffeine compounds contribute varying shades of bitter depending on the tea and the brewing methods.
Finding the ‘good’ tea flavour
Just like us Lauren Mote, Diageo Reserve Global Cocktailian, also prefers the cold brew method to create a tea liquid. She explains during the masterclass,
“…tea is a wonderful way of lengthening flavours, adding complexity with a really simple ingredient that everyone has access to. We’ve done a lot of experiments with tea and with coffee. Cold brew is my preferred method because I think you get the subtle floral character, more of the zesty notes or maybe the greenness of the tea and the brightness of the tea rather than just going full-fledged bitter tannins”.
In gaining an appreciation of tea as an ingredient and what it contributes to the development of drinks allows you to understand the approach we have taken to flavour development of our East Forged tea brews. You can read all about it here.