Cup of tea with an Irish clover

Whiskey And Tea: Does It Work (+ Recipes)

Tea and whiskey have a close relationship that stretches back several centuries.

Both are time-honored drinks, with a unique tradition and rich culture.

Carefully combining the two can create a delicious drink that is greater than the sum of its parts.

In this post, I’ll explain what the combination of these two much-loved drinks tastes like and also share a few simple whiskey and tea recipes.

What Does Whiskey And Tea Taste Like?

Whiskey and tea are both comfort foods that have a warming quality.

This makes whiskey and tea drinks particularly enjoyable when consumed on a cold winter night or rainy afternoon.

The flavors of the two ingredients tend to complement one another.

A good tea can provide herb, citrus, and fruit flavors, without getting in the way of the flavors provided by whiskey.

Whiskey can contribute many additional different flavors, depending on the type of whiskey you use.

A good Scotch whisky might add citrus, dried fruit, dark chocolate, spices, tobacco, peat smoke, and oak.

Use a bourbon whiskey and you might notice more caramel, molasses, vanilla, and honey.

Irish whiskey is particularly good choice, as it can add delicious floral, fruit, herb, and vanilla flavors to your tea. This can work really well with certain tea varieties, like Darjeeling tea and Earl Grey tea.

Although whiskey is quite flavorsome, it doesn’t dominate the flavor of tea. Combining whiskey and tea is like partnering wine and cheese — they both make the other ingredient taste better.

Given that there are so many different teas and whiskeys available, the challenge is finding a combination that you enjoy. Below are a few recipes to help you get started.

Cup of tea and whiskey

Whiskey And Tea Recipes

Hot Toddy

The Hot Toddy is a well-known Scottish drink combining whiskey, tea (or hot water), and lemon.

Because it has been around for so long, there are many variations on the Hot Toddy recipe.

Many Scotts take great pride in having a unique Hot Toddy recipe that is passed down their family.

Here are a couple of simple versions:

Black Tea Hot Toddy With Irish Whiskey

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon black tea
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 60 ml of Irish whiskey
  • 1 wedge lemon
  • Optional: 5cloves, 1 stick cinnamon, 1 piece star anise

Instructions:

  1. Combine the water and spices in a small pot
  2. Bring the water to just below boiling and remove from heat
  3. Add the tea leaves and let the mixture brew for 4 minutes
  4. Strain your tea into a large mug
  5. Add the honey
  6. Float the whiskey on the top of the tea by pouring it over an upside down spoon
  7. Add a squeeze of lemon and serve

Simple Hot Toddy With Scotch Whisky

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brewed breakfast tea
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 60 ml of Chivas Regal Scotch whiskey
  • 3 dried clove and ¼ spoon dried nutmeg

Instructions:

  1. Brew a pot of breakfast tea and set aside
  2. Place a spoon of honey into a toddy glass (tall glass with handle)
  3. Add the other ingredients and stir until the honey is dissolved

Milk Tea And Whiskey

This is the way many older people enjoy mixing whiskey and tea. It is essentially a cup of tea with Scotch whisky, honey, and lemon.

The type of tea you use can really make-or-break this recipe, so experiment with different varieties.

Many people enjoy using a strong tea like Lipton Yellow Label, as it works well with the sweetness of the honey and Irish whiskey.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 teabag of Lipton Yellow Label black tea (or your favorite tea)
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 45 ml of Irish whiskey
  • 1 wedge lemon

Instructions:

  1. Let your teabag steep in a cup of boiling water for about 1 minute
  2. Remove and discard the teabag
  3. Add sugar, milk, and whiskey
  4. Stir and enjoy

Whiskey and Green Tea

The hot toddy is a great option for cold climates, but it can be less enjoyable when the weather is warm. A better option is to blend chilled green tea with whiskey.

The soft, grassy flavors of green tea can really complement the floral and herbaceous flavor of Irish whiskey.

Ingredients:

  • Brewed green tea
  • Irish whiskey
  • Ice

Instructions:

  1. Brew a pot of green tea, pour it into a jug and let it chill in a refrigerator. Alternately, cold brew your green tea.
  2. Place ice in highball glass
  3. Add about three parts green tea with one part Irish whiskey (tweak to desired ratio)
  4. Enjoy

Scotch and Earl Grey

If you prefer a bit more flavor in your drink, try using Earl Grey with Scotch whiskey. The citrus flavors of the bergamot orange peel and strong Scotch flavor make it a herbaceous and zesty blend.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 teabag of Earl Grey
  • 1 teaspoon honey or sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 45 ml of Irish whiskey
  • 1 wedge lemon

Instructions:

  1. Let your teabag steep in a cup of boiling water for about 1 minute
  2. Remove and discard the teabag
  3. Add honey/sugar, milk, and whiskey
  4. Stir and enjoy