Seasonal Drinks
Comments 7

Chinese New Year cocktail: Jasmine Tail

As you may have seen, I’m working my way through a series of classic cocktails every week, but it’s also super fun to make cocktails for all the occasions that pop up on the calendar. It gets me to think about ingredients and mixtures that I might not otherwise get to try. My workplace has been decorated recently for Chinese New Year, and although I’m not doing anything else to mark the holiday, I thought I’d make a cocktail (or three) by way of celebration.

I started reading about all the different kinds of cocktails inspired by China and south-east Asia generally, and came to the conclusion that whatever I make has to involve tea. There are various highly complex concoctions out there involving ginger syrups, baiju, peppercorns, yuzu juice, etc, but a tea-based cocktail is a bit more accessible, and I know more about tea than I do about any of the above. If I wasn’t writing about cocktails, I’d probably write about tea instead (and maybe I will?). I used to have a huge tea collection before I left the US, and since I’ve been moving around a lot I haven’t built it back up, but it might be time to start. I found this article at Cocktail Lovers really great for firing the imagination – it’s about Hutong, the Chinese restaurant in the Shard in London, and the drinks they’ve come up with, based on principles of Chinese medicine, sound just beautiful. The team there has apparently worked with the Tea-Lady, Henrietta Lovell at the Rare Tea Company, to come up with various tea-based drinks. I’ve bought tea from there to give as gifts, although I’ve never tried it myself, but as it happens they have a whole section of tea cocktail recipes. Fortuitous!

I decided to make two cocktails, the Lapsang Old Fashioned, and the Jasmine Tail. I know it’s a bit clichéd but I might also make a Lychee Martini down the line because… I love lychees. I’ll make the Lapsang Souchong cocktail later in the week, but here’s the Jasmine Tail.


5g loose leaf jasmine tea (their Silver Tip Jasmine is recommended)
50ml vodka
10ml Fino Sherry
5ml Elderflower Cordial
2 drops of Absinthe


Add the tea leaves to the vodka and infuse for 5 minutes, then strain the vodka. Add the vodka along with the sherry, cordial, and absinthe to a mixing glass with ice, and mix until chilled. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with a twist of orange zest [realised as I was making it that I’m out of oranges].

It’s a lovely cocktail, and very delicate looking, but the absinthe and the vodka make it a little less delicate tasting than it otherwise could be. I didn’t get enough of the jasmine flavour – it is there, but it’s being bullied a bit by the absinthe, so I’d be super light on that – one drop max. Next time I also might use less vodka, and actually make the tea in some hot water and then let it cool and add that to the mix – I think that would increase its presence. I have a feeling that the Lapsang Souchong in my next cocktail will not be overtaken so easily!


  1. I absolutely love reading all of your posts. The use of tea in a cocktail is one i’ve never quite been able to master (at least as far as my own recipes go) but then I’m too fond of the substance in general myself.

    This cocktail however, suffers the full love my attention brings because it has involved St. Germain Liqueur! – One of my favourites!

    Thank you for sharing, I tip my hat and raise my Jasmine Tail to you, and I look forward to your next post!

    • Thank you so much! What a lovely comment – I really enjoy your blog too! I do think tea is very hard to use in cocktails, not sure the Jasmine Tail was quite right, but I’ll try again with some Lapsang. Cheers!

      • I think it’s how savoury the flavours usually are. I imagine the more oriental ‘flavours'(?)

      • Sorry my phone decided not to let me finish that reply! However I’ve transferred to my laptop. Which is much more practical, or so it seems!

        I think it’s how savoury the flavours usually are. I imagine the more oriental ‘flavours'(?) are easier to marriage with the sweet liqueurs we seem to enjoy so much here in the west!
        I know there is a cocktail out their that uses Tea and Licor 43 (my absolute favourite liqueur) – i’m just yet to find out what that is!
        Do you like whisky? The Japanese seem to love whisky, at least for the time being, so i imagine there must be a nice Japanese themed tea & whisky cocktail out there!

        Thank you, I love cocktails and writing about them, but I love to hear what other people love about them! This blog is one of the better ones! So well done to you I say! Thank you for the kind words about my blog, It’s great to hear nice things about it! 😀

        p.s. let me know how the Lapsang blend goes!

  2. I’ve never heard of tea being used in cocktails before, it sounds like a great ingredient!

    I look forward to hearing about the Lapsang Old Fashioned too, I imagine it will have a lovely smoky taste to it.

    I review teas on my blog maybe it will give you some inspiration for more teas to use in your drinks?

    • I think it’s quite a skill to make it so that teas aren’t overpowered by the other ingredients, but I’ll keep trying! Your blog looks great – maybe you should try a tea cocktail sometime! I read about a Keemun cocktail with oranges and lychee liqueur that I’m eager to try.

      • I can imagine it’s pretty hard!

        Thank you very much, if I can find a place that serves them then I definitely will! It’s a good excuse to visit lots of cocktail bars to check their menus too.

        Sounds like a good one to me, you should go for it!

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