11 Tea Drinks for Every Kind of Occasion

How to incorporate sencha, matcha, Earl Grey, and more into your non alcoholic drinks and cocktails.

Green Refresher Drink

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Oset Babür-Winter

Even if you're not an avid tea drinker, you likely have a box or two of bags stashed away in your pantry in anticipation of cold season, a chilly evening, or a houseguest who could use a little extra comfort. While black teas easily lend themselves to floral, slightly sweet baked foods like this Earl Grey Tea Bread, matcha is our go-to for recipes like these earthy, nutty Matcha Tea Cake Cookies. The world of making drinks with tea — from Japanese teas like sencha and Hojicha, to herbal teas like chamomile and mint — is just as complex. Read on for 11 of our favorite alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks to make with loose leaf tea, as well as tea bags.

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Iced Teaquila

Iced Teaquila

If you've ever needed confirmation that black tea and tequila are a match made in heaven, this cocktail is for you.

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Jasmine Gin Fizz

Jasmine Gin Fizz

Ryan Fitzgerald always wanted to incorporate the floral scent of jasmine tea into a cocktail. He chose to add it to the late-19th-century Silver Fizz by using gin infused with jasmine tea.

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Green Refresher

Green Refresher Drink

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Oset Babür-Winter

Tart, crisp, and easy to make, this is a non-alcoholic cocktail you'll want to make long after Dry January.

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Bourbon Tea Julep

Bourbon Tea Julep
Kelly Marshall

Tannins from black tea add a beautiful hint of bitterness to Alexander’s twist on a classic mint julep. Oleo saccharum, also known as citrus oil, is made here by steeping lemon peels in sugar; its bright flavor is the perfect lift to finish each sip.

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Stop the Hourglass

Stop the Hourglass Frozen Cocktails
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

Chantal Tseng's take on a refreshing summer drink pairs juicy, ripe peaches with cool and refreshing mint tea. Amontillado sherry, with notes of vanilla and toasted hazelnuts, adds a sweet, pleasant complexity to this frozen sipper. The fresh peaches and mint tea ice cubes tame the heat of the alcohol and ginger.

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Minty Lemon Iced Tea

Minty Lemon Iced Tea
© Reed Davis

Fresh lemon juice, black tea, and a minty simple syrup combine for a refreshing summer drink.

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Masala Chai Latte

Masala Chai Latte
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

These aromatic Masala Chai Lattes boast delicious complexity from the blend of spices brewed with the tea. The spices used to make chai in India vary by region and even by household, so adjust them to your preference. These lattes get a little subtle heat from fresh ginger and black peppercorns, and earthy, warming notes from cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves.

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Pu-erh Tea Digestif

Pu-erh Tea Digestif
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Sweet, smoky earthiness in the tea compliments the barrel-aged Cognac, making for a surprisingly smooth drink.

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Rosy Hibiscus-Gin Lowball

Rosy Hibiscus Gin Lowball
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Dickey / Prop Styling by Kathleen Varner

On the fence when it comes to gin? Try a sip of this gateway cocktail. Also known as sorrel, roselle — the type of hibiscus used in most hibiscus teas — complements the floral notes of gin, resulting in a refreshing, balanced beverage. Stir leftover hibiscus tea into lemonade for a refreshing nonalcoholic sipper.

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Matcha Latte

Matcha Latte
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Jillian Knox

TV host, cookbook author, and blogger Molly Yeh shares her easy recipe that calls for matcha powder, milk, and honey for sweetness. A fine powder made of ground green tea leaves, matcha contributes an earthy, somewhat bitter flavor as well as bright green color. 

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Mango Hibiscus Cooler

Mango Hibiscus Cooler Recipe
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Let guests choose their own adventure with this make-ahead mixer flavored with sweet mango nectar and sour-tart hibiscus syrup. It’s equally delicious on the rocks with sparkling water, topped with bubbly Cava, or stirred together with tequila for a cocktail.

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