Here at Tavalon, we get a lot of emails. Granted, many of them are trying to sell us “Viagraa” (whatever that is!), but most of them are legitimate, tea-related queries. Among them, we get every facet of question you could imagine. Every once in a while, though, a real gem comes in that should be shared for the betterment of all tea lovers. Such is the following email.

You've Got Mail!“Does tea in China have alcohol in it? Because on my last visit, I drank some tea and got really hyper.”

(I have erased his name to protect his anonymity)

While I wouldn’t put it past the Chinese to come up with something off the beaten path (oh, Jackie Chan, you’ll never stop amusing me!), chances are slim that they’d adulterate their national beverage in such a manner. Not only would this only be improbable (unless, of course, some inadvertent oversight was made), but probably frowned upon. The Chinese, more than almost any other nationality, are tea purists. In fact, China is so Camellia-centric that you’d be hard-pressed to find any decaf teas, an American standard!

Come to think of it, even if you did find an establishment purveying an intoxicating tea, chances are it wouldn’t leave you jumpy. Alcohol is a depressant, after all, and therefore would have the opposite effect. My theory is that, upon sipping some delightful Chinese tea, you must’ve been reading one of the many poignantly whimsical blog postings I’ve made on the subject of tea.

Glühwein in teacupsHowever, not all countries participate this unadulterated treatment of tea leaves. Tea lovers from the United Kingdom, for example, enjoy an off-shoot of tea called a Hot Toddy, which usually combines whiskey, hot tea, honey and spices. References to the Hot Toddy can be found in the UK since the time of Charles Dickens! Another concoction combining tea and alcohol comes from Germany. Glühwein, or Mulled Wine for those without an “umlaut” key, is often served around the Holidays to warm the chill of winter. The main ingredient of Gluhwein is red wine (traditionally, it was red wine that had gone bad) that is heated and blended with cinnamon, cloves, lemon, sugar and yes, sometimes even hot tea.

Here at Tavalon we’re always coming up with new ways to enjoy tea, and our ever-expanding tea-infused cocktails are quickly becoming the hit of the City. Stop by some of our many upcoming events and you’ll probably get to try one!

As always, I recommend drinking any alcoholic drink in moderation, especially those with tea. After all, if you’re too drunk to enjoy the tea, there’s just no point.