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Tipple in a tea cup

Tipple is the slang term for an alcoholic beverage.

From about 1907 to 1948 prohibition was encouraged in Prince Edward Island and for shorter periods in other provinces in Canada, mostly by religious groups to curb their drinking habits for moral and health reasons. Thus, tipple in a teacup became popular when the daintiness of a china cup and saucer camouflaged the banned brew. Now that’s sneaky! And a tad clever, don’t you think?

[caption id="attachment_1220" align="aligncenter" width="259"]a little obvious! a little obvious![/caption]

Embracing this tradition, many bartenders today serve up their tea cocktails in prohibition style! Some are being made with real tea which combines well with alcohol. Tea is known to be a giver of flavours.  The tea leaves can either be directly infused in the spirit or used as a strongly brewed mix.  At the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, Jasmine tea spices up a teacup cocktail featuring chilled Jasmine tea, Pear Vodka, Galliano, fresh squeezed lemon juice and a dash of simple syrup. This is served in a fine bone china cup and saucer as reported by Deirdre Kelly in a Globe and Mail article.

[caption id="attachment_1228" align="aligncenter" width="617"]Photo Credit: Norm Betts for the Globe and Mail Photo Credit: Norm Betts for the Globe and Mail[/caption]

We are not in the days of prohibition anymore, but we can still have a bit of fun disguising our alcohol in a mug! In pubs we see the old steins, by the campfire, the tin cup; but to be a little more refined, try using a pottered mug that has a white or light glaze on the inside so you can enjoy the true colour of your drink. Rub the rim with lemon juice and sprinkle it with sugar to dress it up a bit!

[caption id="attachment_1229" align="aligncenter" width="597"]Sangria in a Village Pottery teacup Sangria in a Village Pottery teacup[/caption]

To get the spring off to a good start, and in the spirit of some good old fashioned prohibition rule-breaking, here’s one of my favourite Tipple recipes created by my good friend and master tea recipe concoctor, Shawny Ross:

Lady Baker’s White Peony Sangria

Pai Mutan White Tea

Pai Mu Tan is often popular as a spring or summer tea.  Try this Tipple twist this spring! From its humble roots in Spain, Sangria has grown to become a popular, refreshing party drink around the world.  Sangria is traditionally a red wine punch, but may also be made with white wine. As with most sangria recipes, allowing the fruit to flavour the concoction improves the overall taste, so we recommend that this recipe be made one day ahead.  Embrace spring with this delicious, refreshing beverage!  Note: Substitute any of the fruits with whatever fresh, seasonal fruits you have available.

4 heaping Tbsp. Lady Baker’s Pai Mu Tan tea

4 cups boiling water

1 bottle of Riesling; chilled

2 cups White grape juice; chilled

1 Orange; washed and sliced

1 Lime; washed and sliced

1 Lemon; washed and sliced

2 Kiwis; washed and sliced

1 Peach; washed and sliced

1 Green apple; washed and sliced

6 – 12 Strawberries; Washed and halved

6 – 12 Green grapes; washed


In a 4-cup tea pot or glass measuring cup, cover tea leaves with boiling water and steep for 4 minutes.  Strain out leaves and let tea cool to room temperature, then chill for several hours or overnight.

Combine all remaining ingredients in a large pitcher and add tea when cool.  Stir and pour into sugar rimmed garnished, ice-filled glasses or clear glass cups and saucers. Make it a tipple!

Makes 8-10 servings


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