Tea & Honey Recipes

Honey Cocktail Recipe: Elderberry G&T

One of our favorite recommendations in our Honey Room is to encourage guests to experiment with honey simple syrups in cocktails because it's a fun, easy way to use honey in a way that's both special and part of everyday life. So, as soon as we tasted our new sweet-tart Elderberry Infused Honey, we knew we had to create some simple and refreshing cocktails for summer!

Usually our cocktail recipes here on the blog are a bit on the involved side, often including homemade tea / herbal infusions or several liquors. 

But the truth is a delicious cocktail doesn't need to be complicated, and this time we wanted to let our gorgeous Elderberry Honey speak for itself. 

Below, you will find a very easy recipe for honey simple syrup, as well as a few twists on classic cocktails using Elderberry Honey Simple Syrup. We recommend giving these cocktails a stir and experimenting with your own favorite flavors!

Elderberry Infused Honey Jar, bee stir stick, and Elderberry Gin and Tonic with lime wedges

Using Elderberry Infused Honey in Cocktails

Elderberry Infused Honey Simple Syrup for Cocktails

Mix well until honey is fully dissolved. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. 

Elderberry G&T Recipe

  • 1/2 ounce Elderberry Infused Honey Simple Syrup
  • 2 ounces Botanical Dry Gin (London Dry works too, but we recommend a botanical gin for a refreshing summer flavor)
  • Ice
  • Top with Fever Tree Tonic Water
  • Squeeze of Lime Juice
  • Lime wedge for garnish

For a berry delicious twist on the classic G&T, stir Elderberry Infused Honey Simple Syrup, Botanical Gin, Ice, Tonic, and a squeeze of lime juice. 

Elderberry French 75 Recipe

  • 1/4 ounce Elderberry Infused Honey Simple Syrup
  • 1/4 ounce St Germain Elderflower Liquor
  • Top with Brut Sparkling Wine

Stir and garnish with blackberries (or elderberries, if you can find them!)

Why Use Elderberry Infused Honey?

Elderberries are an amazing superfood full of antioxidants, and so is honey. Many elderberry syrups available commercially are full of added sugars needed to sweeten these naturally tart berries. Our sweet-tart Elderberry Infused Honey is a delicious and natural way to get your antioxidants or sweeten your tea or cocktails - without all the added sugar.

We knew immediately that we would be adding Elderberry Infused Honey to our cocktails this summer because its sweet-tart flavor profile is never cloying and pairs extremely well with refreshing summer flavors like lime, mint, basil, and cucumber. 

The sky is the limit with your Elderberry Honey Simple Syrup, and we can't wait to find out what you create!

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The Perfect London Fog

Earl Grey Tea Lattes - The Origins of the London Fog

two frothy london fog earl grey lattes on a wooden table casting shadows

Similar to the history of boba, it is often hard to pinpoint when and where a beverage was first developed. According to Vancouver is Awesome, despite the name, this beverage was perhaps invented on the Western Coast of Canada. The story goes that a woman, pregnant with her first child in the 1990s, craved something to replace her morning coffee. Coffee was no longer as appealing to her due to her morning sickness, and she sought something just as comforting but with less caffeine and acidity. Instead, she requested her local cafe make an earl grey tea with frothed milk, instead of the usual splash, and added vanilla sweetener. The beverage began to appear on cafe menus around Vancouver and eventually took on the name “London Fog”. It is definitely a believable tale, because this is the perfect beverage to satisfy a craving for something comforting and cozy on a cold, rainy, foggy, or snowy day.

Recipe for the Perfect London Fog:

Yields around 16oz

Spa City Earl Grey Creme Loose Leaf Teafrothed milk two earl grey tea lattes on a wooden table
  1. Steep 8 grams of Spa City Earl or Paris in Love (for added lavender and rose), in 10 ounces of 205-degree water for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add your favorite monofloral honey, we recommend Alfalfa.
  3. Froth 6 ounces of your choice of milk. (If you don't have a milk frother, you can simmer milk on the stovetop and whisk by hand! Just don't let it boil!)
  4. To sweeten the milk foam, add an additional honey drizzle on top.
  5. Stir and enjoy!

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Immune-Boosting Cocktail Shrub (Made With Tea & Honey!)

We've been casually recommending in-store customers try creating shrubs or tinctures out of our herbal tisanes for years now, but we thought it was time to share our Immune-Boosting Cranberry & Pine Tea Shrub recipe with all of you in a more official way! 

If you just want to skip to the good part, click here to jump to the shrub recipe & recommended cocktails / mocktails. If you're interested to learn why this shrub is immune-boosting in addition to delicious, read on!

two cranberry and pine shrub cocktails in front of kas honey liquor and whiskey bottles

The Health Benefits of Our Wild Taiga (Pine Tea) Herbal Tisane

The wild-foraged ingredients in this wintery herbal tisane come to us from the northern regions of Canada. A pine tea with the added benefits of chaga mushroom and wild blueberry, our Wild Taiga blend is thought to be a flu-breaker and anti-inflammatory tisane that boosts general immune and respiratory health. 

The reasons we encourage our customers to try shrubs or tinctures with our healthful herbal tisanes are twofold: 1) The longer you steep them, the more health benefit you will extract and 2) we recommend drinking herbal tisanes every day to see true benefit, and sometimes you just don't want a hot cup of tea! (Shhhh! Don't tell anyone we said that!)

Ingredients for Cranberry & Pine Tea Shrub: Italian Chestnut Honey, Wild Taiga Herbal Pine Tea, Fresh Cranberries, Apple Cider Vinegar

The Health Benefits of Pine Tea - Spruce, Fir, Balsam, Labrador Tea & Juniper Berries 

Pine Tea acts as a very good flu and cough breaker. Wonderful for your respiratory system, these ingredients are full of antioxidants and Juniper Berries especially are packed with Vitamin C. 

The Health Benefits of Chaga Mushroom

Chaga has been shown to boost immune systems and act as an anti-inflammatory agent. Chaga may also help to lower cholesterol and blood sugar. 

The Health Benefits of Wild Blueberries

Known as the king of antioxidants, blueberries help to fight free radicals in the body and contain large amounts of vitamins K and C. 

The Health Benefits of Cranberries

Cranberries are a superfood chockfull of vitamins and antioxidants. In addition, they may help to lower blood sugar and improve cardiovascular health. Cranberries also help to improve your gut bacteria - extra important at this time of year when many of us tend to overindulge! 

The Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar has antimicrobial properties and antioxidant effects. It is also believed to aid in weight loss, lower cholesterol, and lower blood sugar. So in addition to fighting bad bacteria and free radicals, it helps balance your gut microbiome!

Fresh Cranberry Wild Taiga Shrub Recipe & Cocktails

For the Cranberry Wild Taiga Shrub

Cranberry & Wild Taiga Immune Boosting Shrub Cooking in Stainless Steel Pot

Ingredients:

2 cups water

1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

3/4 to 1 cup Honey (to taste - we recommend Italian Chestnut Honey!)

2 c fresh, washed cranberries

16 grams Wild Taiga Herbal Tisane

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pot over medium heat.

2. Stir until honey is combined in water and vinegar and all the Wild Taiga is immersed in the shrub mixture.

3. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until cranberries have all popped, stirring occasionally.

4. Remove from heat and allow to cool. 

5. Strain mixture into a container for storage. We recommend using a very fine mesh sieve or two layers of cheesecloth to catch all the pulp and small pieces of Wild Taiga. 

6. Chill in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks!

And now, the Cranberry & Pine Cocktail Recipes!

Kas Honey Liquor Cranberry & Pine Soda

A traditional spiced honey liquor, Kas is a delightful addition to many holiday drinks or as an after dinner digestif. We love the sweet spice it adds to the shrub in this drink!

1 ounce Kas Honey Liquor (You can find this delicious spiced honey liquor at our friend and neighbor By the Bottle!)

2 ounce Cranberry Wild Taiga Shrub

4 ounces club soda

Stir and serve over ice. Garnish with fresh cranberries. 

Cranberry & Pine Whiskey Soda (feat. Yankee Distillers Honey Whiskey)

As delicious as it is simple, this whiskey soda plus shrub is a festive crowd-pleaser.

1.5 ounces Yankee Distillers' Honey Whiskey (Located in Clifton Park, NY, Yankee Distillers make their honey whiskey in the same barrels we use to age our Whiskey Barrel Wildflower honey!)

2 ounces Cranberry Wild Taiga Shrub

4 ounces club soda

Stir and serve over ice. Garnish with fresh cranberries.

Cranberry & Pine Gin and Tonic

A holiday twist on everyone's favorite classic, this Gin & Tonic is made with a specialty botanical gin distilled with Saffron, Cardamom, and Orange. It adds a delightful citrus piquancy to the shrub!

1.5 ounces ESP NOHO Gin (this Saffron, Cardamom, and Orange distilled gin may also be found at By the Bottle!)

2 ounces Cranberry Wild Taiga Shrub

4 ounces tonic or club soda

Wild Taiga 75

A twist on the French 75, this sparkling wine cocktail is perfect for NYE!

1 ounce Cranberry & Pine Shrub

1 ounce Honey Liquor, Honey Whiskey, Spiced Rum, or Gin (depends on your preference! For a mocktail version, try cranberry juice instead!)

3 ounces Sparkling Wine (or Sparkling Apple Cider for mocktails)

Garnish with fresh cranberries.

Cranberry & Pine Mocktail

And for those who don't drink this shrub is a festive and healthful way to join in on the holiday cheer. Just add club soda, ginger ale, or sparkling apple cider!

2 ounces Cranberry Wild Taiga Shrub

4-6 ounces Club Soda or Ginger Ale

Stir and serve over ice. Garnish with fresh cranberries!

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Simple Summer White Tea 'Sangrias'

I don't know about you but the last thing I want to do on a 90 degree day is turn on my stove and boil some hot water for my caffeine fix, and second to that is drinking a hot cup of tea. So what does one do when they need their tea but it's sweltering hot outside? Pull a pitcher (or jar!) of cold brew tea out of your fridge! Cold brewing tea is super easy and pretty much foolproof which is why it's our favorite way to prepare iced tea. Perhaps like me, you have a tendency to forget about your tea steeping on your counter, and by time you remember, the tea is bitter and unpalatable. With cold brew however, it's practically impossible to over-steep, so long as you don't forget it for days! I'll give you an abbreviated scientific explanation for why this is, so you can walk away from reading this blog with not only a few refreshing iced tea recipes but a little more knowledge too.

Why Cold Brew? Tea leaves contain a number of chemical compounds within them that when steeping break down, form complexes with one another and form new compounds. During the steeping process, thousands of volatile (aroma) compounds rise from the tea liquor and thousands of non-volatile (taste) compounds float within the tea liquor. Some of these compounds extract at a quicker rate than others. When you're brewing with hot water the time between extracting those first compounds and the last ones is very short so timing (and temperature) is everything. You have to stop the brewing process at just the right time to achieve the right flavor profile or else your tea will end up bitter. Cold brewing is the slow motion version of that process, the window of time between those first compounds being released and later ones being released is much larger so you have much smaller risk of ending up with a bitter cup of tea. The later compounds to release tend to be the more bitter and tannic catechins in green and white tea. Therefore, cold brewing tea tends to result in a less bitter, less astringent brew. You can also brew it stronger and have more of the theanine, more umami, more of the vegetal notes, and more of the high notes!

At Saratoga Tea & Honey we usually have 3-4 cold brew teas to choose from daily! And while we tend to be purists and love our cold brew unsweetened, sometimes you just want something a little more fun! Our Queen Bee put me up to the challenge to create some fruity tea mocktails to quench your thirst by the pool, at your picnic or at your bbq! For the three drinks below, I used three of our white teas as the cold brew base; Nan Mei Wild Buds, Bai Hao Yin Zhen, and Bai Mu Dan Wang.

At home, I have the Takeya Iced Tea Maker and I LOVE it, but since I was making three different teas I thought I would show you all how you can make cold brew with things you probably already have in your kitchen; a jar and a mesh strainer. Easy peasy!

First Step: Cold Brew. Place your tea in a 16oz jar. I just eyeball it with my cold brew because it's pretty foolproof, but if you want to be more economical than I am (I really should work on that!) you can measure out two loose tablespoons of white tea. It may seem like a lot but white tea is very voluminous and light. Fill your jar with filtered or spring water, cover and put in the refrigerator for 6-12 hours! Once your tea has done it's magic, strain it over ice into another glass! Now, for the fun add-ins!

Keep scrolling to see the thirst-quenching combinations I came up with!

Nan Mei with Peaches, Fresh Mint and Tupelo Honey 

Deliciously refreshing and summery, the idea of fresh mint and sweet peaches proved irresistible and what better honey to pair with peaches than famous southern Tupelo Honey! These add-ins compliment the tropical fruit and honeyed notes of the Nan Mei Wild Buds.

Bai Hao Yin Zhen with Cucumbers, Melon and Basswood Honey

The combination of cooling honeydew melon and refreshing English cucumber are a perfect pairing, and complimented by a touch of Basswood Honey, our light mid-western mono-floral that has a delicious hint of fresh spearmint. These add-ins accentuate the florality and vegetal notes of Bai Hao Yin Zhen (Silver Needles) one of China’s most revered teas!

Bai Mu Dan Wang with Strawberries, Lemon and Italian Lemon Tree Honey

Nothing says summer like the fresh flavor of ripe strawberries and an icy glass of lemonade. While there is no lemonade in this drink (you could certainly add some), the combination of fresh lemons and citrusy Italian Lemon Tree Honey adds that same thirst quenching quality. Also known as White Peony, Bai Mu Dan Wang is a more full-bodied white tea, and the perfect base for this combination of strawberries, sliced lemon and delectable honey from Sicily! 

There are so many fruits, herbs and florals that would pair nicely with these white teas, so get creative! I just went with what is in season and usually happens to be in my fridge. What are you going to infuse your cold brew iced tea with? Take a photo and tag us on Instagram and Facebook!

Warm Chai Apple Cider

Chai Cider

Tis' the season for a warming cup of spiced cider! This chai tea drink is a satisfying play on mulled cider and a wonderful way to greet friends for evenings around the fire pit. The cozy spices and tangy sweetness of the apple cider make this drink the ideal companion for fall evenings, both inside and out. 

We love this combination of our traditional Masala Chai, seasonal Pumpkin Spice Honey, and local apple cider to make an easy sweet and spicy mulled cider that everyone will think took you hours. Add a splash or two of Bourbon for an extra-special adult beverage, or serve with a cinnamon stick and lemon wedge for a fancy, kid-friendly treat.

How to Make Mulled Cider with Chai Tea

Ingredients:

1 half gallon of local apple cider

Optional:  Pumpkin Spice Honey, Mulling Spices (roughly 2 T) or Bourbon to taste!

To Brew Chai Tea Mulled Cider: 

1. Pour the entire half gallon of apple cider into a large pot, and turn the heat to medium/high.
2. Bring to a low boil, add the chai, stir well, and reduce the heat.
3. Cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes.
4. Remove the pot from heat.
5. Using a heat friendly measuring cup, pour (and strain with a small strainer, cheesecloth, or coffee filter) into desired cup/mug.  
6. Enjoy!