5 Cocktails That Have Met Their Matcha

I Love You So Matcha cocktail
Image: Wild Chix & Waffles

What’s chartreuse and fine and earthy all over? It’s matcha, the powder you end up with when you grind up certain varieties of dried green tea.

Turns out you don’t need to wait for dessert or a warming after-dinner cup to enjoy it, either.

Bartenders are using it in cocktails as a less expected way to add a verdant hue and earthy flavor. Start steeping!

The Geisha matcha cocktail at Laurel Point and Wewatta Point

The Geisha

Recipe and image courtesy of The Point Restaurants, Los Angeles and Denver

This Japan-inspired “green-tini” is reminiscent of the vegetation in the ocean and is meant to pair with the concepts’ seafood menus, says beverage director Kaitlyn Chiletti. She’s seeing the ingredient in everything from lemonade and cocktail glass rims to soups and desserts, but cautions that a little goes a long way. “Matcha adds a complexity of fresh flavor in a very fun and approachable way.”

  • ½ oz. Honey syrup (equal parts honey and warm water, stirred to combined)
  • 3–5 slices Cucumber
  • ½ oz. Lemon juice
  • ½ oz. Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
  • 1½ oz. Tito’s Vodka
  • ½ oz. Matcha
  • Cucumber ribbon and slice of candied ginger to garnish)

Pour honey syrup into cocktail shaker. Drop cucumber slices into shaker and muddle to combine. Add remaining ingredients (except garnish) and dry shake vigorously without ice for 3–5 seconds. Add ice and shake 15–20 seconds or until properly diluted and chilled. Double-strain into chilled coupe or cocktail glass, and garnish with cucumber ribbon and candied ginger.

Table 2 matcha cocktail at Estiatorio Milos in Las Vegas

Table 2

Recipe and image and image courtesy of Estiatorio Milos, Las Vegas

Named for the owner’s favorite table, mixologist Sean Stangle’s cocktail is a nod to the clean, low-ABV, low-calorie trend. It also pays homage to Greek tradition with the addition of a spirit distilled with the sap of the mastic tree. Matcha’s unique consistency and mild flavor best compliments savory herbs and low-proof grape-based or floral spirits like fortified wines, unaged brandies and gins, he says. “It opens plenty of doors.”

  • 1 ½ oz. Mastic Tears Lemon
  • ½ oz. Matcha syrup (see note)
  • ¾ oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch Greek sea salt
  • 9 rosemary needles
  • Sparkling water to top
  • Notched lemon wheel and rosemary sprig to garnish

Add the first 5 ingredients to a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake until well chilled. Strain with a fine mesh strainer into a Collins glass over fresh ice. Top with sparkling water, stir gently, and garnish with a notched lemon wheel and rosemary sprig.

For the matcha syrup:
Combine 1 part filtered water, 1 part fine cane sugar and ¼ part Jade Leaf Matcha Green Tea Powder in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Let cool and store the mixture in the refrigerator for up to a week.

I Love You So Matcha cocktail at Wild Chix & Waffles in Austin

I Love You So Matcha

Recipe and image courtesy of Wild Chix & Waffles, Austin

“Matcha adds an incredible earthy, sweet, and refreshing tone,” says founder Wendy Wu. “In addition to the endless health benefits and the gorgeous color that comes from matcha, we wanted to create a cocktail that highlighted the tea’s earthy tones while still creating a new depth of flavor that isn't too overpowering.” If you want to lighten up the drink a bit, Wu suggests replacing the condensed milk with sparkling water.

  • 3 Tbsp. Matcha
  • 1 Tbsp. (roughly) Hot water
  • ¼ cup Condensed milk
  • 3 oz. Tequila
  • 1 cup Ice

Put matcha and hot water in cocktail shaker and whisk until dissolved. Add Tequila, condensed milk and ice, and shake until well chilled. Strain into a highball glass over fresh ice.

Midori Garden matcha cocktail at Travelle at The Langham in Chicago

Midori Garden

Recipe courtesy of Travelle at The Langham, Chicago; Image: Galdo Photo

All the drinks on the new cocktail menu at the Chicago hotel restaurant are influenced by famous works of art and hand-selected by the bar team. This sip evokes thoughts of Hiroshi Yoshida’s “In the Botanical Garden” and is reminiscent of a dreamy Japanese landscape. Half-and-half and a whole egg add richness and luxurious texture.

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and dry shake without ice until frothy. Add ice and shake again until well chilled. Strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass and garnish with the matcha powder and a lavender sprig.

Going Green matcha cocktail at Fine China in Dallas

Going Green

Recipe and image courtesy of Fine China, Dallas

“Matcha adds grassy and earthy notes for one’s palate and eye-popping color to the eye,” says beverage director Kyle Hilla. “The matcha also rounds out the complicity and salinity of Scotch.” Hilla has seen more bartenders using tea in cocktails for rimmers and as a garnish for frothy libations with egg white.

  • ½ oz. Matcha simple syrup (equal parts matcha and hot water stirred to dissolve)
  • ¾ oz. Lemon juice
  • ½ oz. Pineapple juice
  • 1 ½ oz. Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch
  • 1 Egg white
  • Beetroot powder to garnish

Add all ingredients except garnish to a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake until well chilled. Strain out ice and shake again. Double-strain into a Champagne flute and garnish with beetroot powder in a straight line.

Kelly Magyarics, DWS, is a wine, spirits and lifestyle writer in the Washington, D.C. area. She can be reached through her website, www.kellymagyarics.com, or on Twitter and Instagram @kmagyarics.

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