Mr Tea, A Great Summer Cocktail

Published ~ March 30th, 2021 | Updated ~ March 30th, 2021
Author ~ Carl Busch
Tags ~ Bourbon |

Summer is right around the corner, and everyone who's been cooped up all winter is excited! Why not start enjoying the warmer weather now with something sweet and bold. Mr. Tea is a perfect choice.

I really had to push myself to make this cocktail because I don't like tea. And you might be asking, why did you make a cocktail called "Mr. Tea" if I don't like tea?

That's a fair question, but I think it's important to experiment with flavors you don't like or aren't familiar with to expand your palate.

Developing my palate outside of my preferred ingredients made me better at flavor matching and cocktail building. If you push yourself out of your comfort zone, your customers will appreciate trying new things they might never have otherwise.

Mr Tea Recipe


  • 4 oz Tea Syrup
  • 2 oz Bulleit Bourbon
  • 4 - 6 Mint Leaves


  1. Combine all ingredients in a tin
  2. Add ice
  3. Shake for 15 seconds
  4. Double strain over ice, in glass
  5. Garnish with a mint sprig

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To grow as a mixologist, I had to create cocktails that my customers would like, even if I didn't. So I picked one of my least favorite ingredients.

I've tried many different types of tea. I've attempted to drink it with sugar or honey, with lemon, hot and cold. But I just don't enjoy tea. So I set out to see if I could make a cocktail with it.

The Kentucky Derby was weeks away, and nothing says Kentucky like bourbon and sweet tea, so I thought I would do a variation of a Mint Julep.

I am a huge fan of bourbon, and when you add mint, it's just a lovely pairing.

You know what else pairs really well with mint? Tea. So all three should work nicely together, right?

As a starting place, I made a traditional unsweetened black tea and cooled it down. I added a couple mint leaves and 1.5 oz of bourbon.

My initial reaction was not good. It was watered down and unbalanced. The tea was lost in the bourbon and just didn't taste good.

For my second attempt, I used the same number of tea bags in half the water. Using the same amount of sugar as I had water, I made a simple syrup from the tea.

This second version of the cocktail was a lot better, but the tea still got lost. From this version, though, I knew this would be a good cocktail. It just needed a couple more tweaks.

How to Make Tea Syrup


  • 4 Bags of Black Tea
  • 8 oz Water
  • 8 oz Sugar


  1. Bring water and sugar to a boil
  2. Remove from heat
  3. Steep tea for 15 minutes
  4. Remove tea bags
  5. Bottle and refrigerate

After a bit more experimentation, I finally got the recipe for the tea syrup right. It took 4 bags of black tea for every 8 oz of water and sugar, and I steeped the tea for 15 minutes.

Once I had the tea syrup, I bumped up the amount of bourbon to 2 ounces. The tea was no longer lost in the mint and bourbon. All of the ingredients were balanced, and I was thrilled.

This cocktail has become one of my favorites, and it is one of the most popular cocktails I've made. The best part is, even though I don't like one of the most prominent ingredients, I still really enjoy this cocktail.

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