Tea-infused cocktails are the latest drink trend on TikTok, amassing over a million views and signaling that healthy, affordable beverages resonate with consumers right now.
A natural fit for a social media trend, tea cocktails are both cost-effective and easy to make at home, usually yielding an aesthetically-pleasing finished product. But tea-infused cocktails also appeal to health-conscious drinkers, a rapidly growing group of which beverage directors and mixologists across the country are taking notice.
“Health-focused consumers are looking for new and alternative options that use natural and real ingredients,” Melissa Harlan, owner of Drink Me! Tea Room in Tempe, Arizona, told The Food Institute. “People want great flavor without artificial or chemical additives.”
Drink Me! Tea Room has a wide selection of tea-infused cocktails on their menu, and Harlan is not surprised that tea-based drinks have gained popularity with beverage directors and at-home mixologists alike. “The specialty cocktail industry has been working with infusions more and more over the past few years and tea seems like a natural progression,” she said.
On TikTok, many of the most-viewed videos with the hashtag “teacocktail” show tea-infused takes on old favorites, such as an earl grey martini or a green tea paloma. Other amateur mixologists take a more adventurous approach, crafting unique tea-based creations that are visually pleasing to watch as they come together.
Shelby and Ryan Fish, the husband-and-wife team behind the TikTok account @fishfoodcottage, have garnered millions of views and nearly a million likes with their tea-based cocktail content. A TikTok showing the step-by-step creation of their “Blueberry-Infused Earl Grey ‘Tea,” a gin drink, has performed especially well, accumulating close to 500,000 views on that video alone.
“As we were teaching ourselves the art of cocktail making, we came across a few recipes for tea lattes and thought, what if we could turn this into a cocktail?” The Fishs told The Food Institute. “The use of tea and fruit combined with a fine spirit really appealed to us and we thought our followers might think the same.”
Beyond the potential health benefits, tea is an appealing cocktail ingredient for its versatility. As consumers and bar-owners continue to grapple with supply chain disruptions, tea enables mixologists to achieve a complex depth of flavor using only a few simple ingredients.
“Tea can be utilized in multiple forms. It can be as simple as adding brewed tea to a recipe or as complex as creating fermented or infused syrups or spirits,” Harlan explained. “Tea lends itself to creativity while keeping healthy options in play.”