[T]ea is a true cultural staple in many countries, and one of the most popular drinks all around. There have long been two main ways of consuming tea: hot or iced. But with fresh flavors and new influences coming from around the world, the tea game has changed dramatically.
This is a great time for tea aficionados. We can enjoy amazing teas such as Japanese matcha, Chinese kombucha, and many other variations that were hard to find in the Western world just a few years ago.
But what if you took tea one step further? Green tea is finding its way into innovative beverage combinations that deliver intriguing flavors and add excitement to café menus. Here are a few green tea–infused recipes to spark your creativity this summer.
Green Tea Whiskey
By blending tradition and innovation, some New York City bars are establishing a trend: green tea and whiskey cocktails.
Green tea whiskey is a great drink to welcome summer. The recipe is simple: fill a rocks glass with ice cubes, add two fingers of whiskey, and top with green tea. Add a lemon wedge for zesty freshness.
Green Tea Gimlet
The gimlet is a classic cocktail, good with vodka, but excellent with gin. Elevate the flavors of gin and lime juice with the addition of brewed green tea.
To make your green tea gimlet, combine two ounces of gin, three-quarters of an ounce fresh lime juice, three-quarters of an ounce simple syrup, and two ounces green tea in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Stir with a long spoon until very cold. Strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass and garnish with a lime wedge.
Green Tea Floats
One of the most popular drinks under the hot sun is a green tea float.
This dessert-beverage combo is made by mixing cold green tea with vanilla ice cream. For more adventurous flavors, swap the vanilla ice cream for fruity selections like blueberry, strawberry, or lemon.
A green tea float is a great option for a decadent afternoon tea, and it’s particularly amazing when enjoyed with a rich, buttery cookie.
Green Tea Heineken
It might sound bizarre, but a crisp lager tastes delicious when mixed with green tea. This combination has a complex flavor profile, topped with beautifully frothy foam. This is not what you would classify as a health drink, but both green tea and beer are well known for their high concentration of antioxidants.
Heineken with green tea is popular in Thailand, and is simple to make: fill a pint glass one-third of the way with green tea, then top with beer. For some sweetness, add honey.
Lychee Green Tea
Green tea loves the flavor of fruits. Green tea and lemon is a classic combo, but other fruits, such as pineapple, berries, and lychee make great complements. Lychee has a sweet flavor, similar to the mixture of grapes and watermelon. These beautiful nuances are a fabulous fit for green tea. The drink also offers some amazing health benefits: lychee is rich in antioxidants, and features a huge punch of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
To make green tea with lychee, brew your green tea as usual and add a few ounces of lychee juice. Or, drop peeled lychees in a glass of brewed green tea and let them soak overnight. Not only will the tea absorb some of the natural lychee sweetness, but the fruits will soak up the distinctive flavors of green tea.
Which one of these unusual green tea drinks will you sip this summer?
—Kei Nishida is the author of I Will Teach You How to Be Healthy by Using Japanese Green Tea.