Spike Your Next Cup Of Tea With Bourbon For A Comforting Night Cap

Tea is the go-to beverage for many people when searching for something to soothe their body and mind. There is nothing like a cup of herbal tea to warm you up and wind you down before bed. In fact, a 2015 study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing showed that herbal drinks like chamomile tea can scientifically improve some peoples' sleep. This research is better supported than other sleep myths, like the practice of drinking a nightcap. 

Unfortunately, consuming alcohol directly before bed does not actually help you get restful sleep. That being said, it can certainly help you unwind a bit, so if you want to add a bit of kick to your next cuppa, we won't discourage it. Just make sure you are picking the right spirit for the job: bourbon. While there is no hard and fast rule on how to spike your tea, bourbon is our go-to liquor of choice for a couple of reasons. 

For starters, bourbon tends to be on the sweeter, smoother end of the spectrum when it comes to distilled spirits, making it a gentler drinking experience as you head into the evening. Even better, bourbon has a variety of tasting notes that can also be found in many teas, such as fruity, floral, nutty, and even confectionary flavors. As such, a splash of bourbon will help to highlight the compatible flavors found in whatever brew you have selected, creating a more complex and enjoyable sip.

How to pair bourbon and tea

For the best results when combining these beverages before bed, you will want to look for non-caffeinated or herbal teas that share one of the nine most common tasting notes in bourbon. Some notes, like flowers and herbs, will be easy to match with options such as lavender or mint tea. Teas with baking spices, like cinnamon, clove, or masala chai, are also excellent choices for this warming spirit. For those with more experimental palates, you can even find teas made from ingredients like barley that will echo the smoky, grain-like notes many expect to find in bourbon.

Of course, the pairing of bourbon and tea only improves when you add in other elevating ingredients. Sweeten up your drink with a bit of honey or simple syrup for an improvised take on a bourbon sweet tea cocktail. Add a squeeze of lemon, and you have yourself an extra special version of the warm and cozy hot toddy. Don't be afraid to take inspiration from your favorite bourbon cocktails to take this combination to the next level — the possibilities are nearly limitless.