“Tea’s fragrant aromas and varied flavors are the perfect accent to a revitalizing cocktail,” says bartender and distiller Allen Katz, who notes that the practice of combining tea and alcohol dates back at least to the expansion of colonial trade routes by European empires in the 17th century.
He makes the Scarlet Glow with a hibiscus tea syrup, a combination of brewed hibiscus tea and granulated sugar that is made on the stove just like simple syrup. Katz says that making an infused syrup is one of the easiest ways to add tea’s flavors to a drink. “Bolder and brighter varieties like lavender, hibiscus and citrus will stand out best,” he says. “You then use the syrup to lightly sweeten a cocktail.”
In this case, that syrup adds gently sweet floral notes to the complex mixture of pisco, yellow Chartreuse and grapefruit juice. Pisco is a grape-distilled spirit that was first made in the 16th century and is claimed as the national spirit of both Peru and Chile. Yellow Chartreuse has been made by Carthusian Monks since 1838 using a closely guarded recipe of 130 herbs, plants and flowers. With notes of honey, citrus, anise and saffron, it’s a little sweeter and softer than its green sibling. Grapefruit juice balances the potent spirits with a kick of tart citrus, and the tea creates the drink’s eye-catching red hue.
“Tea cocktails marry two classic traditions and offer resounding stimulation, refreshment and humanity on any evening,” says Katz.
2 ounces pisco
1/2 ounce yellow Chartreuse
3/4 ounce grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 ounce hibiscus tea syrup (one part sugar, one part brewed hibiscus tea)
Add the pisco, yellow Chartreuse, grapefruit juice and hibiscus tea syrup into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.