I've been obsessed with the combination of smoked tea and orange for some time and have put it in everything from slow-cooked pork to ice cream. Every year we send out a New Year's card and include a food and drink recipe. This year the food was a grilled cumin lamb which I thought would be fabulous with a smoked tea, orange-laced cocktail. Lime and ginger seemed obvious pairings and the cassis was a touch I had enjoyed in a mezcal drink at a local restaurant. This makes a great mocktail as well and can be made with orange in lieu of kumquats. —savorthis
Simmer water with sugar and kumquats about 10 minutes or until simple syrup is very orange-y. Steep tea bags in syrup 5 minutes, remove tea bags and cool.
I used ounces, but the basic proportion for each drink is: mix 1 part tequila, 2 parts tea, 1/2 part lime juice in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a cup and add 2 parts cold ginger beer. Pour a tablespoon or so of cassis over a spoon against the edge of the glass. Garnish with thin slices of kumquat and lime and (optionally) grated frozen ginger.