• May 16, 2017

Cocktail of the Week: Cold Tea for Two

Alexis Jesup

While this shareable cocktail is served at Shōjō, a relative newcomer in Boston’s Chinatown, Cold Tea for Two is also a nod to the neighborhood’s history.

“After 2 a.m., people came to Chinatown,” explains Shōjō bar manager Michael Patterson. “They still wanted to drink. They used to say, Can I get cold tea? And then they got a pot filled with some kind of booze.”

Not only is Shōjō’s iteration served legally—it also makes use of oolong tea-infused vodka and an oolong tea syrup in honor of Chinatown’s flavors. The concoction also calls for Pêche de Vigne, a French peach liqueur, but Patterson notes that other peach liqueurs—and even peach schnapps—will do in a pinch.

The drink’s tasty homage to after-hours alcohol also extends to how it’s served: in the unadorned steel teapots you’ve picked up at a million Chinese restaurants.

“It’s very unassuming,” says Patterson. “Most people see it, they’re like, Is that tea? I’m like, yeah, to some degree it is.”

This recipe serves two people. Patterson, who likes to replicate the drink on a larger scale for barbecues, recommends tripling the portions to make a pitcher.

Cold Tea for Two
4 ounces oolong tea-infused vodka*

1½  ounces Pêche de Vigne
1½  ounces oolong syrup**
1½  ounces fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and pour into a tea kettle with ice. Serve.

*Oolong Tea-Infused Vodka
1 bottle of vodka

3 bags (or loose leaf equivalent) of oolong tea

Add tea to vodka and soak overnight.

**Oolong Syrup
1 quart water
1 quart sugar
6 bags (or loose leaf equivalent) of oolong tea

Bring water to a boil and add sugar. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add tea, and allow mixture to cool for thirty minutes. Syrup will keep three to four weeks, refrigerated.

Brian Samuels