Texas Bittersweet Tea Cocktail

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All I know about the Lone Star State, I learned from this incredibly sweet lady who used to be my boss (now retired and living the dream). 

Texas Bittersweet Tea Cocktail

Two nuggets of Texas knowledge stick out in my mind.

1. When she met her husband’s family for the first time (dinner at their house), instead of grabbing plates before sitting down to eat, the men of the household went for platters. Individual platters of barbecue, you guys.

2. She would say things like “that really burns my toast” to express displeasure at something. I may be making up the exact words, but you get the utter charm of it, right? The best.

As for me, I’ve only driven trough parts of the state, but we will meet again and get to know each other properly, Texas. Save me a platter of brisket.

So what’s Texan about this drink? Nothing except the grapefruit. Texas. Ruby. Red. Grapefruit. 

In my mind, this is a Texas-meets-the-South experiment, because Texas isn’t the South and natives of either will yell at you if you make THAT mistake. Or politely correct you in a delightful accent, whatever.

Texas Bittersweet Tea Cocktail

So, yes. This here’s a drink featuring nods to two American cultures as mixers, with Averna, a Sicilian amaro, as the base spirit. Cocktails (and food) can make an entire ocean disappear, just like magic. I’m picturing the Italian boot kicking Sicily over into the Gulf of Mexico like a hockey puck and saying, “Here, play with these guys for a while.”

Texas Bittersweet Tea Cocktail

Averna is more gentle in bitterness than other amari, and being rather sweet and syrupy, it takes kindly to being tamed by fresh grapefruit. The drink itself is herbal, sweet, a little tart, citrusy, and, well, bitter (not overly so, don’t be scurred, just like Ke$ha says). Also, pitcher-friendly (hint) and approachable–it won’t burn your toast. I promise.


Texas Bittersweet Tea Cocktail

Texas Bittersweet Tea Cocktail
Serves 1
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  1. 2 oz. very strong, very sweet iced black tea (1 cup water, 4 tea bags, 2 tablespoons sugar)
  2. 1 1/2 oz. Averna
  3. 1 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
  4. 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  5. 1/2 ounce bourbon (Blanton's used here)
  6. A few dashes grapefruit bitters
  1. Combine ingredients in ice-filled mixing glass or shaker and stir until thoroughly chilled. Strain into ice-filled glassware of your choice and garnish with grapefruit.
  1. Disclaimer: I was generously supplied with Averna, but as always, opinions are my own and ingredients are featured because I like them.
10th Kitchen http://www.10thkitchen.com/
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    • Danguole says

      Thank you Johlene! I was experimenting after the “real” shoot–sometimes those are my favorite.

    • Danguole says

      Yeah, I still have a bag of Thai iced tea that I’ve experimented with off and on. No winners yet!

      Reno does have a really short degree of separation! I don’t know of an Ashley I used to intern for, though… I’ve only interned at the Housing Authority, a long time ago.

    • Danguole says

      “Stop trying to make fetch happen!”

      Gosh, that reminds me–still failing at making klatch happen. I’m the worst at this.

  1. says

    Oh my goodness. You had me at “pitcher friendly”! We had a neighbor from Oklahoma, and she said all things charming too. I can’t remember many of them now, but I distinctly saying “gether” instead of gather. And I remember the phrases, “make hay while the sun shines”, and “chaps my hide”. . . . Totally not sure if these were from her or just my Northwest childhood. We were not far removed from Big Sky cowboy country . . . .
    Sara {Home is Where The Cookies Are} recently posted…Butternut Squash and Apple Soup (with crunchy sweet and savory toppings)My Profile

    • Danguole says

      I’m going to google all of these and start using them regularly! People will be even more confused as to whence I come from. FUN!

  2. says

    I’ve been thinking about regional U.S. differences lately too. My mind’s been stuck in Georgia, but Texas has it’s own charms. My mom (from Oklahoma) used to say something about burnt toast too… I can’t quite pull the quote up but it may be the same. Cheers. GREG
    sippitysup recently posted…Pan Fried Catfish with Buttered RiceMy Profile

  3. says

    This looks so delicious! I love charming expressions, too. I worked with someone that used the expression “Good governor!” and I chuckled every time. I love when Peter from Family Guy had that short-lived tv segment”what really grinds my gears,” too.


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