Drinks & Eats

Alcoholic Tea

Yo Mr. Tea,

Does tea in China have alcohol in it? Because on my last visit, I drank some tea and got really hyper.

Ye-1 C-O

Dear R2D2,

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 inprobable (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 flavored or decaf teas!


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 recalled one of the many poignantly whimsical observations I've made on the subject.

However, 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 Glühwein 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.

As always, Mr. Tea recommends drinking any alcoholic drink in moderation, even those with tea. After all, if you're too drunk to enjoy the tea, there's just no point.

Constantly expanding the tastes of the teacup,

Mr. Tea
"One Hot Toddy"