In the city where the American Revolution was triggered with the protest against the British known as the Boston Tea Party, it's especially appropriate that tea is becoming more and more a part of our culture these days.
Hotels across the city, from The Ritz-Carlton, which has offered tea for many years, to The Four Seasons with its daily afternoon tea and a special Christmas season Teddy Bears Tea, have been at the forefront of celebrating tea.
Late last year, the Langham Hotel here introduced The Reserve, a new Grand Lobby, where British afternoon tea service returns as Tiffin Afternoon Tea, a special ritual complete with the hotel's own blends. The chain's original London property is said to be the place where afternoon tea originated in 1865.
At L'Espalier in Boston's Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the restaurant now has a resident Tea Sommelier on staff, Cynthia Gold, who debuted a Tarot Tea around Christmas for a look at what the New Year might bring, and a Mad Hatters Tea Party more recently. The teas start at 1:30 p.m. and cost $50 per person or $35 for children under age 12, and include treats from Chef Frank McClelland's kitchen. Gold is a tea afficianado and the co-author with Lise Stern of "Culinary Tea," a guide to tea traditions worldwide with a large selection of recipe featuring tea.
Today, she notes, more restaurants are offering quality teas as beverage choices, and more chefs are discovering tea as a culinary ingredient.
Also introduced late last year as a new twist on the city's tea scene was Boston Harbor Hotel's Tea-Tail offerings, a complement to the afternoon tea experience. Launched during the holiday season. guests chose from three Tea-Tail concoctions featuring hot flavored teas with spirits such as whiskey, rum and bourbon. Think Grandpa's Pekoe Tea, served hot with Ron Abuelo Rum, orange marmalade and Grand Marnier, Southern Cinnamon Tea with cinnamon spice tgea, Makers Mark, and a dash of whiskey barrel aged bitters, or Cider, Spice and Everything Nice, a chilled combination of Orleans Aperitif dry cider-apple wine infused with basil and anise hyssop from Vermont, Bourbon, house-made apple cinnamon simple syrup and aged bitters.