“My inspiration for the Chit-Cha Toddy came from the traditional Chinese tea ceremony, says Shawn Chen, the beverage director at RedFarm and principal bartender at Decoy, both in New York City. “I wanted to create a cocktail honoring teas and my culture,” he says. He uses osmanthus oolong tea from Taiwan, selected for its delicacy and faint nuttiness.
At Decoy, he usually serves it in a Chinese gaiwan, a small cup with a lid, which can be mimicked with a hollowed-out mini pumpkin and its top. And as for the source of its name? “There are many ways to express making tea for someone in Chinese,” says Chen. “For example, pao-cha is to brew fresh tea, and dao-cha is to pour tea for someone, but the most respectful way is chit-cha, which is to serve someone tea.”
- 9 ounces George Dickel rye whiskey
- 3 ounces Benedictine liqueur
- 6 ounces lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 6 ounces ginger syrup*
- 3 ounces blossom honey
- 32 ounces osmanthus oolong tea, hot-brewed**
- Garnish: 12 lemon half-wheels studded with cloves
- Garnish: 12 mint leaves
- Garnish: cinnamon sugar
Add all ingredients into a large hollowed-out pumpkin or a punch bowl, and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
Divide into 12 hollowed-out mini pumpkins or punch cups.
Garnish each with a lemon half-wheel studded with cloves, a mint leaf and a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.
*Ginger syrup: Juice 4 ounces fresh peeled ginger root. Add 1 cup extra-fine sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
**Oolong tea: Steep 8 tsp osmanthus oolong tea with 32 ounces water for 3 to 5 minutes.