Afternoon tea is an age-old British tradition and a truly excellent one at that. But believe it or not, there’s a way to make endless towers of sandwiches and cake even better: serving a cocktail on the side.
To mark National Afternoon Tea Week – which is in full swing from 12-18 August – we’re advocating switching things up and swapping out a classic English Breakfast or Earl Grey for something a bit more boozy. And, no, we don’t mean the singular glass of prosecco you pay a supplement for.
Instead of offering unlimited brews, more and more afternoon tea menus are replacing their classic cuppas with bottomless bubbles and, better yet, bottomless spirits. We’re talking endless gin and tonics, whisky or even MarTEAnis to indulge in as you dig into your finger sandwiches and sweet treats.
Sound up your street? We thought so – and luckily there’s plenty of choice all across the country. From the high teas of London to the country piles of Yorkshire and the Lake District, the options for boozy afternoon tea experiences are limitless. Here are our favourite spots to visit…
Gin High Tea, Circo Bar
Price: £45 per person
As described on their website, Circo Bar’s Gin High Tea combines a classic high tea experience with a professionally delivered gin tasting. Guests will even get to create their own gin using a cold compound method, whilst indulging on high tea treats and tasting a selection of premium gins.
DUKES MarTEAni Afternoon Tea
Price: £48 per person
DUKES London has introduced a quirky new afternoon tea menu for Martini lovers and it sounds divine. The ‘MarTEAni’ Afternoon Tea experience is comprised of three beautifully crafted mini martinis, created with The East India Company Gin. As stated on the website, each of the martinis feature a mix of the ‘gin and infused vermouths: a black pepper and citrus paired with sandwiches, a Victoria Plum complemented by scones and finally, a Spiced Karak Tea Martini with an infused vermouth using The East India Company’s First Romance tea, a black tea with fruits and flower petals to pair with the pastries/sweets.’
Japanese Afternoon Tea, Issho
Price: £25 per person (extra £10 for cocktails)
Issho’s authentic Japanese Afternoon Gin & Tea experience is in collaboration with Roku Gin and is made up of delicious savoury treats such as Edamame Rolls, Temari Sushi Balls, Sliced Sea Bass Ponzu and Miso Braised Lamb Shoulder Pancakes, as well as sweet offerings like Chocolate and Matcha Green Tea brownies, Caramel Purin, Mochi Ice Cream Balls and Yuzu Meringue Kisses. Oh, and gin cocktails of course.
Afternoon G & Tea, The Lowry Hotel
Price: £33 per person
The luxury hotel offers a great variety of a fternoon ea deals but the best one is of course, their G & Tea offering. Take your pick of tasty gins, from Pink Pepper and Brockmans to Hendrick’s and 3 River Gin, while you dig into the array of savoury and sweet treats.
Mr Fogg’s G & Tea
Price: £44 per person
Get educated on the history of ‘mother’s ruin’ by the gin experts at Mr Fogg’s’ G & Tea experience, where guests will sample a selection of our 200+ gins before choosing your destination, as you explore a plethora of nectarous gin cocktails inspired by flavours from all around the world. And of course, there will be a variety of homemade and authentically Victorian sweet and savoury delicacies to enjoy alongside all the gin, too!
Cocktail Tea, Tigerlily
Price: £25 per person
If you’re in Edinburgh, then you should definitely pay a visit to the quirky Tigerlily hotel for delicious afternoon tea that is not only purse-friendly but comes complete with their signature Livener cocktail made with Wild Cat gin, lemon, raspberry syrup, bitters and Veuve Clicquot Champagne – yum. You can of course also expect a selection of traditional aftertoon tea treats both sweet and savoury, from honey roast ham, arran mustard and tomato on wholemeal to profiteroles with diplomat cream and chocolate almond frangipane tart.
The Fizzy Tarte Laurent-Perrier Rosé Afternoon Tea
Price: £79 per person
For a special occasion of the highest order, The Fizzy Tarte’s boozy afternoon tea offering won’t disappoint. You’ll get a mix of handcrafted patisserie, macarons, scones and cakes, plus finger sandwiches and scones, and the (second) best part: a ramekin of crisps. The first best part is, of course the 75cl bottle of Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé NV, one of the most delicious pink fizzes money can buy.
Sunset Pornstar Martini Afternoon Tea
Price: £29.50 per person
If you like a Pornstar Martini then you’ll love this deal at Manchester’s Sunset by Australasia. The millennial pink restaurant has various types of alcoholic afternoon tea offerings but the best one is definitely the one that involves a frozen Pornstar Martini upon arrival. Sip on the Instagrammable cocktail before you dig into a savoury bento box, followed by a sweet one and perhaps another Pornstar Martini?
Gin & Jam Afternoon Tea, Hush Mayfair
Price: £35 per person
As stated on its website, Hush’s ‘Gin & Jam’ afternoon tea is the perfect excuse to put some tipple in your teatime and enjoy some G with your T(ea). The Mayfair gem, which only serves the special afternoon tea on Saturdays from 2pm, also features classic teatime treats in the menu, including elegant finger sandwiches, warm scones with clotted cream and jam, and a selection of sweet treats including raspberry ripple lollipops and passion fruit Jaffa Cake.
Little Nan’s Tipsy Afternoon Tea
Price: £35 per person
For one of London’s quirkiest afternoon tea experiences, visit Little Nan’s. The popular bar is famous for its parties and various brunch events but the boozy teatime is not to be missed either. Guests are spoilt silly with home baked sweet and savoury treats (displayed on bespoke three tier cake stands) all made using Little Nan’s secret recipes handed down to her daughter, Little Mum. Plus, all the tipples of course!
High Tea, Farmacy
Price: £35 per person
If you’re a clean eater than this one’s for you. Celebrity favourite vegan restaurant Farmacy offers dairy-free, vegan afternoon teas for you to enjoy and rumour has it the food is so good that even non-vegans will love it. From raw quiche with fig and jackfruit tacos to their signature CBD truffle, the menu is extensive to say the least. Most importantly however, it comes with delicious pink vodka cocktails made of fresh raspberry, rose and lemon.
Burlington Arcade & Four Seasons Park Lane
Price: £55 per person
Burlington Arcade has teamed up with the Four Seasons Park Lane for a special edition afternoon tea to celebrate the luxury shopping arcade’s 200th anniversary. Guests can expect everything from a light blueberry cheesecake modelled as a Burlington Beadle (the arcade’s very own private police force) to The Burlington Battenberg – reflecting the iconic marble floor of Burlington Arcade. But make sure you pair it with ‘The Perfect Serve’, the hotel’s seasonal gin selection, simply garnished and paired to perfection, which includes 4 gins for you to choose from.