Warm Cocktails for the Holiday Season

Move over, hot toddies! Tea has so much more to offer the world of cocktails than as a simple mix-in. Last year, we explored tea concentrates to make up a batch of festive holiday drinks; this year, we’ve taken our Lapsang Souchong maple syrup and come up with three cocktail recipes to showcase its bold smoke and rich sweet-savory flavors. Enjoy!

Mr. Fortune’s Old -Fashioned

Mr. Fortune’s Old-Fashioned

2 oz peated scotch
¼ oz Lapsang Souchong infused maple syrup
3-5 dashes black walnut bitters

In a mixing glass, add ingredients over ice and stir to combine. Strain over single large ice cube and garnish with orange peel or a cherry. For an extra flavor kick, smoke-rinse your glass with dry Lapsang Souchong tea leaves just before pouring. If you are wondering who Mr. Fortune is, you should read this blog post.

Typhoon Season

Typhoon Season

1 egg white
1 oz pineapple juice
1 oz Lapsang Souchong infused maple syrup
½ lime, juiced
1 oz Lapsang Souchong tea concentrate (steep 1 tbsp. tea in 1 cup water for 15 minutes)
2 oz mezcal

Combine ingredients in shaker and dry shake (no ice) vigorously for at least 30 seconds. Add ice to shaker, shake, and double strain into glass. Garnish with lime or your favorite tropical botanicals.

Mulled Maple Cider

8 oz apple cider
1 oz whiskey
2-3 tbsp Lapsang Souchong infused maple syrup, to taste
¼ tsp lemon juice
1 pinch cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves

Combine all ingredients except whisky in saucepan on the stove; warm over medium heat until mixture is heated through and flavors have settled. Remove from heat, add whiskey, and pour into mug. This recipe is perfect for making in large batches; scale up ingredients as necessary. Can also be served sans whiskey for a tasty and alcohol-free autumn warmer.

By: Jen Coate

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Lapsang Infused Maple Syrup

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: here at Dominion Tea, we love experimenting with flavors. Back in 2018, we wrote about how to infuse tea into simple syrups, but this time we’ve decided to go a step further: maple syrup infused with the smoky boldness of Chinese Lapsang Souchong tea. Talk about the perfect autumn breakfast! Sweet maple and savory pine smoke together – and the best part is, it’s actually very easy to make at home.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup good quality, genuine maple syrup
  • 2-4 tbsp. Lapsang Souchong tea leaves, to taste (for a stronger smoke flavor, add more tea)

Method:

  1. In a small saucepot on the stove, combine tea leaves and syrup and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to simmer and allow to steep for 6 to 10 minutes, tasting (carefully, as mixture will be hot) for desired strength.
  3. Once the mixture is steeped to your liking, remove from heat and strain off into a heat-proof container. Store in fridge until ready to use; flavors will continue to deepen and develop over time.

Not only does this infused syrup taste fantastic on pancakes, it can also be used as a glaze for bacon and other savory dishes, as a delicious additive to salad dressings, cocktails, and punches, and as a fun and exciting addition to your favorite fall baked treats. Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for new tea-inspired recipes, as we show off some of our favorite ways to make use of this fun ingredient.

By: Jen Coate

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Witch’s Brew: Blending Your Own Tea

For Halloween, let’s brew up some unique tea blends using existing teas. Over the next four weeks, we will walk you through the craft of blending tea while creating four new blends to enjoy. So grab your measuring spoons, cup and infuser and join us on our blending adventure.

1st Recipe: Strawberry Jasmine

This blend is a mix of our Strawberry Oolong and Jasmine Green teas. Generally a tea blender would not opt for this mix as the density and size of the two teas are not similar, so the possibility of separate in the final storage container is rather high. Separation has to be considered as it leads to an inconsistent flavor on a cup by cup basis. So this is a blend you would make by the cup as opposed to making it in a large scale.

In crafting this blend, we choose to favor having a stronger Strawberry flavor with a Jasmine highlight. Picking a flavor to focus on is critical in making a tea blend. Ironically, if there are too many flavors in a blend it becomes hard for the drinker to figure out what they are drinking, which leads to confusion and a nonoptimal tea experience.

Recipe for Strawberry Jasmine – 12oz Cup

3 tsp (flat) – Strawberry Oolong

1 tsp (flat) – Jasmine Green

Steep for 3 minutes in 175°F water.

2nd Recipe: Caramel Apple

This blend combines our Dulce de Leche and Apple Blossom teas. Pretty routinely you will find that flavored teas are inspired by other food combinations. When building a blend on a known flavor it is important to think about what components are in the flavor and is there a dominant flavor characteristic. For Caramel Apple, the caramel is dominant with a slight apple finish. So you will notice that in this recipe, if you want more apple, adjust the Dulce de Leche down and the Apple Blossom up. Much like our last recipe, this is a blend to make by cup as the Dulce de Leche is rooibos based, making it very small and dense, while the Apple Blossom is puerh based, making it big and lite.

Luckily, this blend combines teas that require boiling water and have the same steep time, so no adjustment is needed there. If you have not had puerh before, we would highly recommend you drink some Apple Blossom on its own. It is a great introduction to puerh and its earthiness, without being overwhelming.

Recipe for Caramel Apple – 12oz Cup

2 tsp (scant – less than full, think 90-95% full) – Dulce de Leche

1/2 tsp (flat) – Apple Blossom

Steep for 5 minutes in 208°F water.

3rd Recipe: Almond Joys

When aiming to recreate a known flavor profile, in this case a famous candy bar, the goal is to find the balance in the flavor. Sure, a cup of tea will not contain the sweetness of the candy bar, which gives you some flexibility in what flavor to amplify. So feel free to play with the ratios to highlight either the chocolate or the coconut of this combination. We combined our Chocolate Almond Fantasy and Coconut Oolong to make this cup of tea. If you need that sweetness as well, add your sugar after you brew.

Blending with nuts is a tricky business, first you need them cut into the right size to roughly match the size of the tea leaves and then you need to factor in their shelf life. Slivered nuts have no where near the shelf life of tea. A good black tea can easily stay fresh, when stored correctly, for 5 years. Slivered nuts, on the long side, might have 1 year, but are more likely going to start to turn bitter at 6 months. So if you like teas with nuts in them, drink them frequently and do not save them for the future.

Recipe for Almond Joys – 12oz Cup

1 tsp (round) – Chocolate Almond Fantasy

1 tsp (flat) – Coconut Oolong

Steep for 4 minutes in 195-200°F water.

4th Recipe: Bourbon Peach

This recipe is a little more complex as we blend together 3 teas, including the smoky Lapsang Souchong. The good news is the teas we are working with are all black, have the same density, and shelf life. So this can be blended in a larger batch and stored. So Bourbon Peach is a blend of our Georgia’s Peach, New World Vanilla and Lapsang Souchong.

If you have not had a cup of Lapsang Souchong, add this to your tea bucket list. The original Lapsang Souchong teas come from Wuyi in the Fujian province of China and are pine smoked. Currently, you can also get cedar smoked tea from the Anhui province of China that sometimes also gets called Lapsang Souchong. Obviously, they won’t smell or taste the same. You can read more about this historic tea in this blog post. Just know that when working with a smoky tea, less is more.

Recipe for Bourbon Peach – 12oz Cup

1 tsp (flat) – Georgia’s Peach Tea

1 tsp (round) – New World Vanilla

1/4 tsp (flat) – Lapsang Souchong

Steep for 5 minutes in 212°F water.

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Easy Chai Latte: Do it Yourself at Home

Autumn is nearly upon us, and nothing says fall flavors like the comforting warmth of a chai latte. This sweet, spiced, and creamy twist on traditional chai is a perennial coffee shop favorite, and for good reason! While there are many recipes online for how to replicate chai lattes at home, we’ve gone ahead and developed a ridiculously easy, no-fuss method for the autumn brew, no special equipment required. And did we mention that it’s easy to customize? You can try this recipe with traditional Masala Chai, Maple Chai, Chocolate Chai, or even – for that extra dose of fall spirit – Pumpkin Spice Chai.

For this easy at-home latte, you will need:

  • 2 heaping tablespoons of your favorite loose-leaf chai
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar, honey, or your sweetener of choice
  • 1 cup milk or non-dairy substitute, divided
  • Freshly ground nutmeg, cinnamon, chocolate shavings, or other garnishes as desired.

To prepare, start by steeping your chai in freshly boiled water for five minutes, then straining out the leaves. This will create a chai concentrate. Sweeten your concentrate to taste. Gently heat 2/3 cup of your milk or milk substitute in the microwave or on the stove until steaming, then stir into your concentrate.

For a quick and easy foam topping, take the remaining 1/3 cup of milk and pour into a small glass jar with a lid. Fasten the lid tightly and shake the jar vigorously for about thirty seconds. Remove lid, place jar in microwave, and heat for thirty seconds. The agitated milk will froth up as it heats. Remove from microwave (carefully, as jar may be hot) and scoop your milk foam onto your latte mixture. Garnish with your favorite toppings.

By: Jen Coate

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Vietnam: Snow Shan Tea

Vietnam is a country long steeped in surprisingly ancient tea traditions, although it is often overshadowed by such industry giants as China, Japan, and India. But unknown to many Western tea drinkers, this small country has a lot to offer when it comes to tea varieties, one of the most impressive of which are the Snow Shan teas. Named for the fine white down that can be observed upon the plucked leaves, these teas are truly unique not only for their excellent flavors, but for the special cultural significance that they hold for the people of Vietnam.

Snow Shan teas are grown high in the mountains of northern Vietnam, where the country is bordered by the eastern edges of the Himalayas. Although this tea region crosses multiple provinces, the largest growth area of Snow Shan is in Ha Giang, Vietnam’s northernmost point. Throughout the country, differences in climate, geography, and terrain produce unique impacts on the tea’s terroir, which in turn leads to many variations in aroma and flavor. In Ha Giang, many of the wild tea trees from which Snow Shan is harvested are over a hundred years old (some are said to be nearly a thousand) with massive trunk sizes over a meter in diameter. A far cry from the small shrubs from which many industrially-produced teas are farmed! These ancient trees are carefully tended by the indigenous ethnic peoples of the regions in which they are grown, such as the H’mong or Dao, who carry with them many generations of Vietnamese tea tradition.

Snow Shan White Tea Buds

Among the subgroups of Snow Shan teas, one of the most interesting and outstanding offerings from Ha Giang are Snow Shan White Tea Buds, grown on the high mountain slopes of Mt. Chiêu Lầu Thi in the rural district of Hoàng Su Phì. Rather than plucked leaves, these woody small bundles (resembling pinecones) are actually harvested from unopened stem buds, taken from the main trunk and branches of the ancient tea trees. When infused, they release a light and delicate aroma in a pale golden liquor, with sweet floral and woody flavors leaving a lingering aftertaste of subtle spice. We are not exaggerating when we say that there is no tea anywhere in the world that can quite compare!

High Mountain Snow Shan Black

Another fantastic example of the best qualities of Vietnamese tea is the High Mountain Snow Shan, a black tea with large full leaves from mature trees grown at elevations around 1,400 feet high. The resulting tea is very smooth and mellow, but still rich with complex flavors and aromas.

While still a relative newcomer to the modern orthodox tea market, Vietnam has a lot to offer when it comes to truly unique tea experiences. If you have yet to try Vietnamese tea, Snow Shan varieties can be a wonderful place to start.

By: Jen Coate

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