Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tea and Honey Bourbon Whiskey

Today I am sharing a post that is rather acharacteristic of me in several ways. For one, I am sweetening my tea, and for two, I am featuring a type of alcohol to do so. However, in a broader sense, I think this post fits with my character as the amount of sweetness and alcohol that I added was very minimal.

I am not much of a drinker; I never have been and I likely never will be. I don't like going to bars and I never feel the need to get drunk. But I do love the taste of many kinds of alcohol. It is no secret that RateTea was inspired by RateBeer, where I have been an active user for years. I enjoy beer more than any other sort of alcoholic beverages, but I do like several types of liquor. My favorite of these is bourbon. I find something about bourbon to be's smooth yet complex, and I like it so much that I can drink it straight, although I usually like to add a dash of water to it.

Recently, at the house of some of my friends, someone procured a bottle of Wild Turkey American Honey Bourbon, a honey-sweetened bourbon of the Wild Turkey brand. This is not the sort of thing I would drink on its own. I tend to avoid sweet alcohol, and I like plain bourbon without any honey. But this drink was more subdued flavor-wise than pure honey, and it was pleasingly aromatic, and I got the idea of using it to sweeten black tea:

I chose a first-flush Darjeeling, the Darjeeling from Two Leaves and a Bud, and added just a dash of the bourbon. The result was really interesting. For one, the addition of the bourbon changed the character of the tea, much more so than adding sweetener alone, although less so than adding milk. The bourbon seemed to take some of the edge off the tea. This tea was already a relatively smooth tea, low in bitterness and tannic qualities, but I found it was even smoother upon the addition of the bourbon. I also found that the aroma of the bourbon seemed to blend seamlessly with the tea. Both were rather floral, and in oddly similar ways.

This was an interesting experiment, and the results were pleasant. I could see myself trying something similar again, perhaps with different types of liquor or different teas. Have you ever added liquor to your tea? Does this idea appeal to you at all?


  1. I tried mixing green tea with vodka once and found the result terrible. When I described this to a friend, he said, essentially, "You gotta use bourbon, dude." I've yet to try it, though. Why's bourbon so good with tea?

  2. Yeah, I can't see green tea and Vodka working well. I think Vodka has a sort of cutting quality that makes it good to add to things that are fairly flavorful, like fruit juice, but not to something like tea which is richer in aroma than in flavor.

    I'd be more inclined to use bourbon I think because bourbon has a relatively smooth flavor among whiskeys, but is also very complex aroma-wise. This would make it more "tea-like" in some odd sense. It's also not quite as smoky or edgy as Scotch or some Canadian whiskies or rye whiskies, but it's not quite as smooth as some Irish whiskies (there's a reason Irish whiskey goes well with coffee and cream). So it would be my first choice of something to add to a black tea. But I can see Scotch working well with the strongest black teas too, or with smoky black tea.

    This is all speculation...this blog post is about my first experiment with these sorts of things, I'm no expert here!

  3. I was never aware of bourbon being mixed with tea, however having run out of coke, I decided to see if mixing premixed bottled iced tea would taste any difference. So I mixed Jack Daniels with Rasberry flavoured black tea, Lipton which I had in the refrigerator. wow ! unbelievable. It was a thirst quencer.