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This is not the first time I’ve written about tea and alcohol and, more specifically, about those alcoholic beverages made or flavored with tea. Here’s a link to one of my most recent such articles, which has to do with beer and related beverages made with tea. Here’s a general look at various tea-related spirits and whatnot. On the flip side, an article on the connection between tea and temperance.
To the best of my recall, however, I haven’t run across much information on wines made with tea – until recently, that is. A little while back a food historian known as The Old Foodie posted an article on this topic. It chronicled the experiments of a Dr. Thudichum to make a type of tea wine. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of information readily available on the good doctor, though one journal article from a half century ago called him “an important figure in the history of medicine.” Thudichum also penned an 1860 article called “Dr. Thudichum on the Contents of Perspiration as Discharging the Matter of Disease,” among other things
Thudichum presented the results of his experiments with tea wine to London’s Royal Society of Arts in 1869, in a paper titled “On Wines, their Origin, Nature, Analysis, and Uses; with Special Reference to a new Alcoholic Drink made from Tea.” With a surplus of tea gathering on London docks, Thudichum was apparently prevailed upon to make some alternative drink from it and experimented with “several varieties of tea, such as Congou, orange flavoured Pekoe, Kaisow, Oolong, and a variety of other fine teas.” The result was six varieties of wine that the doctor describes in more detail than most of us need to know, but you can read all about it here.
Other incarnations of tea wine don’t seem all that numerous, but not so long ago, Pennsylvania winemakers rolled out a product called Twine. More on this combination of tea and white wine here. Here’s the Web site for a Chinese company that make something called Green Tea Wine or Green Teawine, though the English portion of the site is not too informative about exactly what this is. Beyond that (unless I’m missing something) it seems that tea wine experiments in this day and age are mostly the province of a smattering of amateur winemakers.
On a somewhat related note, here’s an earlier article at this very site that looks at the concept of Grand Cru tea, Grand Cru being a term borrowed from the wine industry.
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