Guest writer Jennifer Glover introduces us to a new way of thinking about tea time, by incorporating craft cocktails and light bites into the menu. Today, this author of Carolina Girl Cooks shows us how to host a modern tea party, offering bubbles and tea along with savory and sweet treats. Invite the ladies over and enjoy!
A Modern Tea Party How-To Guide
I think most people would agree the idea of sitting down to a late afternoon snack of delicate tea sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, tea cakes and a hot, fine bone china pot of tea sounds heavenly. Am I right? Now, if we could just find the time in the midst of a hectic day to squeeze in this hour of splendid English tradition. I propose that afternoon tea, or high tea as it can be known, can happen just about any time of day, anywhere and for any occasion. That’s because there’s a new kind of tea time in town. My personal favorite? Cocktail hour fused with tea time.
With the tradition of the craft cocktail that has come back in fashion, we can all become our own mixologists at home. There are some great ways to shake up a cocktail using tea, and there are still other interesting ways to infuse tea into your cocktail, such as concentrating it into a flavored simple syrup. Below is a great recipe for a hibiscus tea simple syrup that is a wonderful addition to a bubbling glass of sparkling wine. You and your friends are going to put this one on frequent rotation. (Recipe below)
With a great tea cocktail in place, you’ll need sustenance. Tea sandwiches are great, but since we can do this tea time any ol’ time, it’s fun to think outside the box and create a couple of light bites to go along with the cocktail. Balance is always a good thing when serving food at a party. If you add in items that are no-cook, it frees up a little time to make at least one special item. (Keep reading for instructions for making the smoked salmon bites and melon skewers pictured above.)
And, of course, no meal is complete with a sweet end, and what could be more perfect for a tea-infused cocktail hour than tea cookies? For a play on scones with clotted cream and jam, try my recipe for lavender tea cookies with lemon curd whipped cream (recipe below). If you’d rather forgo the lemon curd, the cookies are great on their own, too, as they are the base of a traditional shortbread cookie and flavored with delicate lavender buds, which pair decadently with the hibiscus-flavored Champagne.
Get creative with your tea time, and enjoy a modern take on this very traditional experience!
Recipes for Your Modern Tea Party
Hibiscus Tea Champagne Cocktail
- 2 hibiscus tea bags (The Republic of Tea makes a great one)
- ½ cup sugar
- ¾ cup water
- Place the tea bags, sugar and water in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and allow the mixture to cook for 1 minute for the sugar to dissolve.
- Turn the heat off and cool completely.
- To serve, stir about 1 Tablespoon of the cooled syrup into a chilled glass of Champagne or sparkling wine.
Mini Melon Skewers
- 1½ cups (1-inch) cantaloupe cubes
- 1 (6-ounce) package sliced prosciutto
- 1 container small mozzarella balls
- Skewers or fancy toothpicks
- Assemble the skewers by layering a piece of cantaloupe with a mozzarella ball and prosciutto.
- Keep chilled until ready to serve.
Smoked Salmon Bites
- 3 Tablespoons or more vegetable oil
- 2 small russet potatoes, sliced into about ¼-inch slices
- Salt to taste
- 1 package of sliced smoked salmon
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- Fresh dill for garnish
- Heat about 3 Tablespoons oil to medium-high in a large sauté pan.
- Place the potato slices in the hot oil.
- Sprinkle a little salt on the potatoes.
- Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes until browned. Flip and cook the other side for about 3 to 4 minutes until browned, sprinkling with a little bit of salt.
- When the second side is browned, transfer the potatoes to a plate lined with paper towels.
- Allow them to cool for just a little bit.
- When the potatoes have cooled, top them with a little bit of salmon, a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with fresh, chopped dill.
- These can be served at room temperature or chilled.
Lavender Tea Cookies with Lemon Curd Whipped Cream
- 1/2 cup whipped cream
- 1/3 cup prepared lemon curd
- 1 tin of Carolina Girl Cooks Lavender Tea Cookies (www.carolinagirlcooks.com)
- You can use ready-made whipped cream or make your own by whipping ½ cup of cold heavy whipping cream and 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar in a chilled bowl with an electric mixer.
- Mix on high speed for about 4 to 5 minutes until the cream forms stiff peaks.
- Mix the lemon curd and whipped cream together until combined.
- To serve, top a cookie with a little of the lemon curd mixture. It’s divine!
Call the girls over and break out the bubbly, it’s tea time! Enjoy!