Along with being a tea sommelier and author, I must admit that I am quite a bit of a foodie. As is the case with most of my fellow foodie friends, if you turn on my television at any given time, chances are that it will be on the Food Network.

So imagine my joy last night, as I was preparing some new concoctions for a line of tea cocktails, when a re-run of my favorite episode of Good Eats (hosted by Alton Brown, my favorite host) came on. The topic of the show was, fittingly, tea. Yeah, just tea.

As I slowly slurped my third attempt at the perfect Earl Grey MarTEAni, the notion came to me: we’ve come a long way. Ten years ago, the mention of a loose leaf tea would’ve been an oddity. Now, we’ve got a whole television episode devoted to our muse, the tea leaf. Hosted by a man, nonetheless.

It is a clear indication that we, in America, have finally begun to break the barriers imposed on tea that have been holding strong since the Boston Tea Party. People are starting to realize that tea is not only a drink enjoyed by our doily-clad grandmothers, pinky-raising Englishmen or red-hat sporting soccer-moms (not that there is anything wrong with them!).  It is now truly something that everyone can (and should) enjoy, without social distain, for myriad reasons.

As the television show ended and I mixed one last attempt at my spiked tea cocktail, I clearly saw that (through the hard work of many people in many facets of the industry) tea is really infusing itself back into popular American culture. It may have been the gin going to my head, but it seemed that this time it was going to be just perfect.