Spill the Tea: Best Tea Cocktails in Boston

February 21, 2023 | , ,
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Best Tea Cocktails in Boston

We know that Boston’s all about spilling that TEA. If you’re not familiar with the city’s steep history with tea then let’s pause for a brief history lesson. The Boston Tea Party occurred on December 16th, 1776, at Griffin’s Wharf, where American Colonists rebelled against the British for imposing “taxation without representation” by dumping 324 chests of tea, imported from the British East India Company, into the harbor. That’s a lot of tea spilled…

And what’s the best way to spill the tea these days? Over cocktails with your friends…DUH! Sooo we’ve gathered a list of some of the best tea-based and inspired cocktails we could find around the Boston restaurant and bar scene right now. Go ahead…call the girls.

The Tea Garden and Cold Tea for Two from Shōjō 

Shōjō offers a modern twist on Asian cuisine and boasts a Japanese spirit list that is unrivaled in the city. Following suit, they have a cocktail menu to match, offering modern spins on traditional Asian flavors. They offer two tea-based cocktails on their menu that are worth the buzz. First is the Tea Garden, made with Toki Japanese Whiskey, Ume, Matcha, Lemon and Egg White. Next is the Cold Tea for Two, which we feature on our Chinatown’s Culture and Cuisine Food Tour. We love this cocktail not only because it’s delicious and served in a tea pot but also because there’s some history behind the name. While this cocktail is usually made with Oolong Tea-Infused Vodka, Pêche de Vigne, Oolong Syrup and Fresh Lemon Juice, ingredients may vary so that they can incorporate the freshest seasonal fruits. Now for the name…cold tea has become a sneaky way to get served alcohol after serving hours. If you go to Chinatown after hours and ask for cold tea, to your drunken delight, you may be served a tea pot full of beer if no one it watching too closely! Shhhh.

The Smoke & Mirrors from Rochambeau

Photo Credit: Rochambeau

Rochambeu is one of the newer members of the Back Bay restaurant scene bringing a taste of France. As they like to say, they are “part French belle, part Parisian street kid, seen through rosé colored glasses,” and we love them for that! They’re also joining the tea party with a cocktail featuring tea-infused whiskey. Mulholland American Whiskey infused with White Strawberry Tea to be exact. This drink might be called Smoke & Mirrors but there’s no illusion here, it’s straight up fantastic! And, it will soothe your soul with ginger, honey, lemon and also Giffard Ginger of the Indies and Laphroaig 10yr mixed in.

Chapel Perilous from Hecate Bar

Photo Credit: Adam Detour Photography

We can guarantee you have not walked into a place as unique as Hecate Bar in a while, if ever. This mystical underground bar is based in the history of the Greek Goddess, Hecate, who is known for her potion and spell making. They dedicate this bar in her name and claim to be your spirit guides, gatekeepers between realms and passage to a modern world of elixers. Their magical menu features two cocktails with tea as an ingredient but we’d like to hone in on one of them – The Chapel Perilous made with Gin Botanical + Orange Peel Sparkling Milk Punch, Stravecchio Brandy, Punt e Mes, Botanic Bitter, Carpano Bianco, Lofi Gentian, Rooobos and Chocolate Bitters.

Hecate’s Beverage Warlock, Lou Charbonneau, says that this cocktail is a Sparkling Negroni punch garnished with electric dust and skeletal flowers. In discussing with us the inspiration behind this cocktail he says that, “‘Chapel perilous’ refers to a psychological state in which an individual is uncertain whether some course of events was affected by a supernatural force, or was a product of their own imagination. Chapel Perilous also refers to a passage in Arthurian legend where Lancelot was tempted by a sorceress in his quest for the grail. Much like the psychological state of experiencing the divine or supernatural, many people drinking a Negroni for the first time are confronted with either accepting it or becoming agnostic towards the cocktail. This has been constructed as an introductory drink for the uninitiated and the worshipful alike. The universe will decide.”

*Also be sure to check out the Wandering City cocktail which features Yerba Mate

A Queen’s Gambit from Sonsie

Photo Credit: Sonsie

This classic Newbury Street mainstay is always filled with diners flooding out its beautiful French doors onto the sidewalk patio when the weather is nice. To pair with the lovely bistro vibes, sit back and relax with a refreshing floral cocktail featuring a variety of tea flowers. A Queen’s Gambit, a play on the popular TV show about a young female chess prodigy, is made up of Empress Gin, Cocchi Americano, Lavender, Jasmine, Rose, Hibiscus and Chamomile. Stop and smell the tea flowers why don’t you!

The Lost City & Judo Chop Cocktails from RUKA

Photo Credit: Josh Jamison

Peruvian, Japanese and Chinese cuisines all cross paths under RUKA’s roof in Boston’s Downtown. It feels like you’re being let in on a secret when you walk into this dark and sultry space. Pops of color flood the walls along with smoke flowing up from cocktail glasses. Or, better yet, tea glasses acting as cocktail glasses making a nod to Boston’s rich tea history. RUKA offers two tea-inspired cocktails. First is the Judo Chop, made with Japanese Whisky, Buddha’s Tea and Plum Bitters. And second is the Lost City, made with Pisco, Matcha, Coconut and Lime. We chatted with Monique Thomas, the General Manager at RUKA and she told us a little more about these two drinks.

The Judo Chop cocktail pays homage to John Drew, who worked for Toki (the spirit of the drink). He went by the nickname Judo. The Lost City refers to Macchu Picchu, Peru’s “lost city,” which remained hidden from Spanish conquistadors in the Andes Mountains. Boston’s own historical significance towards tea was simply a bonus, as tea service is such a classic part of Asian culture. Experimenting with teas, along with their own unique flavor qualities seemed to have parallels that worked well with certain spirits especially. In their case, they used matcha to accentuate Pisco with Lost City and pivoted with Buddha’s Tea and Japanese Whisky for their Judo Chop. Matcha gives a great pop of color and an understated vegetal component, while Buddha’s Tea lends peach notes that compliment this sweet whisky sour.

The La Diosa from Citrus & Salt 

Photo Credit: Citrus & Salt

Citrus & Salt has the reputation of being one of the best places to get a gram-worthy cocktail in Boston that tastes just as great as it looks. What better place to spill some tea then over some of the best cocktails in the city. And spill the tea they will with La Diosa. This is a sweet tea cocktail that will have you blabbing for sure. And not the sweet tea you might be thinking. This cocktail is a wonderfully refreshing vodka-based drink with a sweet side featuring Sky Vodka, Jenwey “Fruity Pebble” Herbal Tea, Agave, Lemon and Dehydrated Skittles to garnish. Um…YES.

The Tea Party from Wink & Nod

Photo Credit: Wink & Nod

“Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink.”
-Martin Lomasney

This is the foundation that Wink & Nod was built on. This modern South End speakeasy embodies the old time spirit of yesteryear’s speakeasy without the password requirement. Become part of their scotch club or just kick back in this swanky lounge for a sip or more. Feel free to spill the tea here, but not the drink because it’s too good, with their Tea Party cocktail. You’ll want every last drop. This drink is certainly a nod to Boston’s rich history with tea and our favorite way to drink Earl Grey. It’s made with Absolut Elyx, Allspice, Elderflower, Earl Grey and Lemon. Skip the creamer…add VODKA!

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