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Bellocq's Hibiscus-Ginger Tea Warmer -

January 29, 2013

It may have taken until the end of January, but winter has finally hit NYC. The Bellocq tea shop is just around the corner from the Design*Sponge office in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, but it was cold enough on Wednesday that Max and I were completely bundled up (there may have been some shrieking when the wind hit our faces) and ready for some hot tea. Since I’ve given up coffee, Bellocq has quickly become my favorite spot to visit. (See our tea shop tour here.) I’m always learning about a new way to use tea. (On my last visit, founder Heidi Johannsen Stewart taught me to add a little lapsang souchong to soup when it needs extra body.) So when we were looking for a drink that was warm and alcohol-free, we turned to Heidi. Heidi is absolutely passionate about tea, and she came up with a delicious tea recipe that is a little fancier than just dunking a tea bag in hot water. — Amy Azzarito

Bellocq Hibiscus-Ginger Warmer 
Makes two 8-ounce drinks

Hibiscus is wonderfully refreshing and tart (and caffeine-free). The extra boost of vitamin C helps to bolster the immune system against the onslaught of winter colds and flus.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 3/4 cups water
  • 4 inches fresh ginger, chopped
  • peel of 1 clementine
  • 3 tablespoons Bellocq hibiscus tea
  • rosewater, to taste


1. Put the sugar and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the ginger and clementine peel and remove from heat. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes. (The ginger-clementine simple syrup may be prepared up to a week ahead of time and stored in an airtight container.)

2. Bring the remaining 2 cups of water to a boil, add hibiscus tea and steep for 6 to 10 minutes. Strain the hibiscus and discard.

3. Add 4 to 6 tablespoons (or to taste) of the ginger-clementine syrup to the hibiscus tea. Divide between two generous mugs. Add rosewater, about 1 teaspoon or to taste.

4. Garnish with a slice of clementine peel.

Link to original article: Design*Sponge

Photos by Max Tielman

Tea Selections for a Fall Weekend

November 18, 2011

Autumn has finally arrived in New York, the temperature has begun to drop and beautiful swaths of crimson and gold leaves line the streets of Brooklyn. As our thoughts turn toward the upcoming holidays, we thought to share some of our favorite seasonal pairings with you.

The colors of fall in Brooklyn, New York 

A Few Great Teas for a Late-Autumn Weekend:

No. 54 Gypsy Caravan is a marvelous black tea blend befitting the harvest season: full-bodied and smooth with a wisp of light smoke. It's a wonderful post walk-through-the-leaves brew and will also pair beautifully with a beautiful bronzed bird. 

Planning to brine your turkey? Consider adding a 1/2 cup of Gypsy Caravan to the brining mixture to impart a light smokey flavor.

Considering a spice rub? Add a tablespoon or two of pulverized No.19 Lapsang Souchong (grind in spice grinder until finely ground) to the mixture for a delightful smokey nuance.

While the brave souls of the world are hitting the stores, we're planning to prepare a pitcher of Caravan Mary's to enjoy with a Monte Cristo sandwiches.

No.54 Gypsy Caravan

Acknowledging the pescetarians and vegetarians, this year we suggest the No. 82 Phoenix Oolong. The tea's delicate toasted notes and stone fruit/nectarine finish pair beautifully with lighter preparations, especially roasted salmon and cornbread stuffing. It's also excellent with slightly spicy food such as curry.


The beloved flavors of the holiday dessert table: apple and caramel, pumpkin and spice, toasted nuts and maple, cream and chocolate require a selection of teas equally sublime. With the traditional spirit of the holiday in mind may we suggest:

No. 36 Darjeeling Second Flush, a single estate grown tea with a wonderfully tailored and elegant profile. It is particularly excellent with apples, chocolate and chestnuts.

No.42 Little Dickens, a caffeine-free rooibos blend with notes of honey, ginger and chocolate. A favorite with the younger set and the young-at-heart.

No.17 Dragonwell, a traditional Chinese green is an intriguing match for a decadent pecan pie.

And as unabashed lovers of all teas Oolong, we plan on enjoying No.05 Ali Shan Oolong with our pie.

Après Feast:

Holiday feasting and the general bon vivant decadence of the weekend can admittedly leave one a bit sluggish and possibly unmotivated.

No.12 Le Hammeau, a lovely tisane of lemongrass, verbena, lavender, rose and mint is light, refreshing and invigorating and the antidote to overindulgence. 

No.12 Le Hammeau

For palettes that prefer a earthier lean, No. 34 Roasted Kukicha is a light woodsy Japanese green tea of roasted tea stems.  Perfectly suited for the fall countryside, the light brew is hydrating, soothing and restorative. 

And voila! Weekend covered. 

Wishing you a wonderful Holiday!

BELLOCQ Tea Atelier

Bellocq and Brunch: Caravan Mary Rides Again

November 18, 2011

Bellocq's twist on the traditional Bloody Mary adds an edge of smokey goodness to the beloved brunch tipple.  The markets are loaded with amazing pickles, turnips, okra, spicy beans…these days. We skewer a myriad of delicious nibbles and into our Caravan Mary's they go. 

Mary I of England

Makes 2 cocktails / recipe may be doubled and tripled. 

        ounces tomato juice 
    4     ounces vodka or tequila blanco 
        ounces strongly brewed No.54 Gypsy Caravan tea, cooled 
    2     teaspoons prepared horseradish, or to taste 
        teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, or to taste 
    1/2  teaspoon chipotle in adobo sauce, or a few dashes of tobasco to taste
        teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste 
           Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper 

Garnish suggestions: Pickled turnips, spicy beans, celery heart stalks and leaves, Rick's Pick's Smokra, beef jerky, caper berries, lemon wedges or olives

1. Stir together the tomato juice, vodka, No.54 Gypsy Caravan tea, horseradish, Worcestershire, chipotle or tobasco, and lemon juice in a serving pitcher. 
2. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust as necessary. 
3. Fill two highball glasses with ice; divide mixture between glasses. Top with an extra crack of pepper. 
4. Load up the glasses with garnishes and serve.