Cheers! Don’t let the blue color fool you, this is NOT that kind of drink

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a really blue drink before,” I said as Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings pushed a coupe across the table filled with blue cotton candy-colored liquid. cautiously said.

“Not from me at least,” she said with a sly smile.

Lester Graham


Michigan Radio

Tammy Coxen rocks The Lake at Night.

For almost seven years she offered drinks for me to sample on Michigan Radio’s Cheers to Michigan segment. She has a proven track record, and I hesitated for a moment before taking a sip.did not do it taste blue. There was so much going on in that bite that I couldn’t really describe it.

“So this is a drink called The Lake at Night. It’s from Shannon Mustiffer’s book Tiki,” said Tammy.

I should have judged it as a tiki drink based on its color alone. However, it tasted different from any tiki drink I’ve ever had.

“Because what you’re tasting is a smoky flavor,” said Tammy.

The recipe (below) calls for lapsang souchong tea infused vodka. Lapsang souchong has a smoky flavor from the pine fire.

“That means it’s very resinous and has a very strong flavor. It’s a difficult tea to love as a tea, but you can add a lot of flavor with just a little bit,” Tammy said.

The vodka she used was Detroit’s Eight Mile Vodka.


Lester Graham


Michigan Radio

Vodka-infused lapsang souchong tea is one of the staples of the lake at night. Tammy used Detroit Eight Mile Vodka.

It also included another ingredient I hadn’t tasted, cardamom bitters.It added a really nice spice to the drink.

Tammy says one of the notable things about this recipe is that it’s taken from the first cocktail book by an African-American bartender in over 100 years. As she mentioned earlier, “Tiki: A Modern Tropical Cocktail” by Shannon Mustiffer.

The last black bartender to be published was Tom Bullock, who published a book in 1917 called The Ideal Bartender. The New York Times has a great review of the reissued book.

So where do you get the blue color of the lake at night? From Blue Curacao, not very popular in my opinion. It is generally an inexpensive orange liqueur dyed blue. Tammy says she chooses French products when it comes to fruit-flavoured liqueurs.

Pro Tip: Add a drop or two of blue food coloring to your favorite orange liqueur to make your own blue curacao.

It was a good drink if you like smoky flavors that are strangely reminiscent of Scotch, but other than that it was a whole new taste experience.

lake at night
2 ounces smoked tea-infused vodka
1/4 oz blue curacao
1/4 ounce honey syrup
1/2 ounce lemon juice
2 dashes of cardamom bitters
Garnish: orange twist
Mix ingredients with ice in a shaker. Shake well and strain into a coupe or martini glass. Garnish.

Vodka with smoked tea
1 teaspoon Lapsang Souchong leaves (or other smoked tea)
8 ounces vodka
Soak the tea leaves in 2 ounces of hot water for 2-3 minutes. Strain and discard (or drink) the water. Soak the leaves in vodka for 5-7 minutes. Strain and store in a cool, dark place out of the sun.Yield: 8 oz

Tammy Coxen and Lester Graham Cheers to Michigan: A Celebration of Cocktail Culture and Craft Distillers From University of Michigan Press. This book is based on Cheers! I heard an episode on Michigan Radio.

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