JWU Students Craft Tea Cocktails for Nightlife Sipping

A Bigelow Tea contest challenges students to create elevated health drinks


It’s a cocktail…but also tea, trendy yet good for you: it’s a Super Bev. This is the premise distilled (or steeped) into the competition Johnson & Wales University hosted this past fall in partnership with Bigelow Tea. Eight student teams (some working solo, others with partners) meticulously developed and then put their recipes to the test by shaking them up for a panel of judges to see how their Super Bevs stacked up in two categories of Bigelow herbal tea-based drinks: cocktail and mocktail.

The two winning recipes share a superfood-forward tea: blueberry acai. “Knowing that the beverage was supposed to be healthy, I wanted to make something very light and something attention-grabbing,” explains Celia Kinneary, who, along with Emma Lundquist, won in the spirits-free category for their Purple Pineapple. The antioxidants, nutrients, and benefits in reducing inflammation made blueberry acai an easy choice for their citrusy-sweet drink.

Angie Escalante was similarly drawn to the tea’s health benefits, but bringing her marketing major to good use, also saw the opportunity to make her bevvie Insta-worthy. Her Bigelow Blueberry Butterfly Empress, which stole the cocktail category, achieves a vibrant fuschia color. Pulling inspiration from Providence’s bar scene, Escalante explains, “I went out one time to the Alley Cat and ordered a lavender gin spirit and it had the beautiful diffusion from indigo into lemon,” which is how she discovered the butterfly pea blossom gin Empress 1908 that transforms a simple drink into a stunner.

Taking a farm-to-table approach to their alchemy, baking and pastry arts majors Kinneary and Lundquist perfected a drink that’s elevated enough for the nightlife yet alcohol-free for anytime sipping. “Emma is the bartender and knows everything about mixology,” says Kinneary. “I put all my brain power into the ingredients and the sustainable efforts in each one, and what makes each ingredient healthy, and she measured out everything and figured out all the quantities, so it was a pretty good duo.”

When asked how best to enjoy these decadent drinks, Escalante is quick to answer “Brunch!” – the BBB Empress isn’t overly sweet so it pairs well with stacks of pancakes and other indulgences. Both drinks are nourishing and sure to drive away the winter blues with their summertime flavors. To learn more about JWU’s partnership with Bigelow Tea and to see other student cocktails, visit JWU.edu/news.

Bigelow Blueberry Butterfly Empress (BBB Empress)

By Angie Escalante

• 1 oz Bigelow Blueberry Acai Green Tea

• 1 oz Empress 1908 Gin

• 1 oz simple syrup

• 1 oz fresh lemon juice

• 3-4 fresh blueberries

• Spiral lemon zest and blueberries for garnish

1. Steep tea with room temperature or cold water for 5-8 minutes

2. Muddle blueberries with lemon juice and simple syrup in a glass mixer

3. Add the cold-brewed tea and Empress Gin

4. Add ice

5. Hard shake

6. Double strain into ice-filled highball glass

7. Garnish with lemon zest and fresh blueberries

Purple Pineapple

By Emma Lundquist and Celia Kinneary

• 1 cup water

• 1 cup clover honey

• ¼ cup fresh ginger, chopped and peeled,
plus 4 small pieces

• 1 Bigelow Blueberry Acai Green Tea bag

• 1 oz fresh pineapple juice

• ¼ oz fresh lemon juice

• ¾ oz fresh grapefruit juice

• 3 fresh blackberries

• Honeyed ginger pieces and dried pineapple flower for garnish

1. Create a ginger honey syrup by combining water, clover honey, and ¼ cup fresh ginger in a pot and bring to a boil.

2. Lower to a simmer and reduce the syrup to desired concentration, about 7 minutes.

3. In a separate pot, bring 8 ounce water to a boil.

4. Reserve half ounce of syrup, then add the rest to the hot water and steep tea bag in mixture for 4-5 minutes.

5. Remove tea bag and let mixture cool.

6. In a cocktail mixer, muddle ginger and blackberries with reserved ginger syrup.

7. Add steeped tea and remaining ingredients.

8. Add ice and shake well.

9. Double strain into glass filled with fresh ice and rimmed with ginger pieces.

10. Garnish with pineapple flower.


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