There are already a lot of reviews for this tea, so I will keep this short. This is definitely one of the most enjoyable and multifaceted black teas I have ever come across. Yes, the notes of chocolate and spice are pronounced, but not overpowering. For me, nothing about it is too bitter or too sweet. It lends itself well for many arrangements: plain, with milk and/or sugar, with added spice as a chai…and here is one more instrumentation you may not have thought of: as a vodka infusion! Steeping the tea in the alcohol brings out those malty cocoa and spice flavors BIG TIME.

Below is the recipe I used from about.com. I cut the recipe in about a third to yield a smaller quantity, but probably still used just over 2 tsp of the tea (2.5 – 3 tsp). My only additional recommendation is to use quality vodka, not anything bottom shelf or watery. As with most drinks, the higher quality, the better. By the way, this goes perfect with cuisine from the northern parts of the silk road – Russian zakuski – Na Zdorovie!

750 mL neutral-tasting vodka (a.k.a. “a fifth”)
6 level teaspoons good quality black tea leaves
Simple syrup (optional, to taste)

1. Using a funnel, place the tealeaves into the bottle of vodka. If necessary, lightly crush them first or use a chopstick to fit them through the funnel and into the bottle.
2. Replace the cap of the bottle and shake well.
3. Steep for about 18 hours, or to taste.
4. Pour the mixture through a strainer and funnel into a different bottle. (If you plan to add simple syrup, use a larger bottle.)
5. Discard the tealeaves. Add simple syrup to the remaining solution if desired.
6. Serve straight, on the rocks or as a base for more complex cocktails.

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