Drink the Book: Black Tea Sour Recipe

Drink the Book: Black Tea Sour Recipe

[Photograph: Marleigh Riggins Miller ]

We have five (5) copies of Food & Wine Cocktails 2011 to give away this month.

I have long been wary—if not actively suspicious—of anything purported to be a cocktail that does not contain alcohol. That wariness is the result of a voice in the back of my head, my inner adolescent food critic, who sees a mocktail remembers the sickeningly sweet rum-less "Piña Colada" and electric red virgin "Mai Tai" drinks that routinely appeared at the table when I was sixteen and my family was out for dinner.

If all mocktails tasted as good as the Black Tea Sour, I'm certain that more people would take the non-alcoholic route. If you're on a drinking hiatus, giving the ol' liver a rest, the chapter on Mocktails in the new Food & Wine Cocktails 2011 will be a welcome sight.

In this clever variation on the classic liquor-based sour, bartender Thad Vogler substitutes the assertive flavor of black tea for alcohol. The tannic qualities of the tea provide many of the same qualities as booze and give the drink a delicious backbone which stands up against tart lemon and sweet grenadine, and the frothy egg white gives the drink a velvety texture.

One of the great features of this drink is that it can be made entirely from scratch—the grenadine and simple syrup are both easily and inexpensively made at home (from recipes included in the book), and the remaining ingredients are in nearly everyone's pantry. Many black teas would be delicious here; I used Earl Grey, but orange pekoe or any other flavorful black tea blend would be lovely. Especially fruity, spicy, or artificially flavored teas won't work as well here, as too many additional flavors will overwhelm the balance.

  • Yield:1
  • Active time: 5 minutes
  • Total time:5 minutes


  • 2 ounces brewed black tea, chilled
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce grenadine
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 egg white


  1. 1.

    Combine all ingredients in a shaker (without ice), close and shake well.

  2. 2.

    Add ice to the shaker, close and shake again.

  3. 3.

    Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and serve.