We love a good cup of Joe just as much as the next person, but sometimes it's nice to switch things up with a steamy mug of tea. After all, the bevy of choices are endless. Herbal, green, black, red...it's a kaleidoscope of yum. But your brew doesn't have to be hot in order for you to melt the winter chill from your bones. There is one key component guaranteed to do the trick, and it's not ice cubes — it's liquor. That's right, forget watercress sandwiches and Earl Grey. Chicago restaurants are giving an entirely new meaning to tea service with boozy cocktails made with tea-infused ingredients. If you're asking yourself why mixologists are jumping on this leafy bandwagon, we've got answers.
With Sepia’s cocktail program, bartender Josh Pearson says he likes to use tea "not just for the flavor it gives the drink, but also for its tannin properties" (hello, antioxidant boost!). If you're used to the normal margarita-like concoctions at Mercadito, Tad Carducci of Tippling Bros. recently created a couple of cold-weather cocktails that "added some deeper, earthier flavors to our fresh tequila-based drinks. Using teas allows us to easily incorporate unique, complex flavors that we can’t get out of fresh ingredients."