Fancy a hot cuppa tea to warm your insides on this freezing cold evening? We know we could use a little more than hot chocolate to keep us warm. These are the best spots for grown-up tea parties. – By Jonathan Pogash
Kama Chai Sutra
After an afternoon of ice skating, slide on over to Celsius Lounge in the Pond at Bryant Park. This pop-up restaurant/lounge allows you to “strengthen your brews” with an added shot of Kahlua. Try the Kama Chai Sutra tea blend spiked with this tasty coffee liqueur. Add milk and you’ve essentially created your very own hot tea cocktail. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy.
Last year, bartender Raphael Reyes contributed this hot cocktail to the menu at SOHO’s 1534. The “Windward Toddy” includes a home-made Hot Ginger Beer (not quite tea, but close enough in our book), Orchard Pear brandy, fresh lemon juice, “Apple Redux” (spiced apple blend), Leblon Cachaca, and rosemary. With such a variety of wintry ingredients, what’s not to like?
At the Upper East Side’s uber-chic Lowell Hotel, you can enjoy afternoon tea time in the Pembroke Room while noshing on scones and Devonshire cream. For $44 you can have yourself the “Royal Tea” (see what they did there?) It includes an assortment of tea sandwiches and scones, loose teas and herbal infusions, and your choice of either champagne, port or sherry. Try a glass of port or sherry and have yourself a modified version of the classic “Bishop” cocktail.
The Chocolate Room, with locations in Park Slope and Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, doesn’t only serve chocolate. Their Chai Latte, made with Harney & Son’s chai tea and steamed milk, does the trick, especially when spiked with California’s Desiree Chocolate Port. Or, for another unique twist, try a cup of chocolate hazelnut tea and a shot of Framboise (raspberry) dessert wine.
At the famed Russian Tea Room, ask for a shot of Belvedere Black Raspberry or Jewel of Russia Wild Berry vodka to fortify your Rooibus Chai or Darjeeling tea during High Tea service. Along with some Russian Osetra or Wild American Hackleback caviar, your spiked tea will shine like a brass samovar under the winter’s sun.
Jonathan Pogash, aka The Cocktail Guru, is a beverage consultant, author, and educator.