This Christmas. why not do things differently and host a festive tea party rather than have yet another Christmas do.
Here are a few ideas to get things going and add a bit of style to the Christmas season.
Let’s begin at the beginning: afternoon tea etiquette. Let us heed the recommendations of industry experts, some of whom have served afternoon tea to Her Majesty the Queen.
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70% of my 52 students aged 21-36 in a group corporate training course could not identify THIS fork. Can you? Bonus if you can properly name them all left to right🤩…🍴 So WHY is it so important? Imagine hosting clients or guests at a formal holiday dinner and not knowing which fork or knife to grab first… you can’t properly enjoy or lead conversation if you’re paranoid about which fork to pick up! 🍽🙇♀️🙇♂️ Update: My correct answer in the comment section below! 🏆
- Usefully named, finger sandwiches should always be eaten with your fingers and never with cutlery.
- Use a fork to eat cakes, but eat scones with your hands. Don’t dunk the biscuits!
- Pronounce ‘scone’ the proper way which is ‘scon’.
- Remember to stir correctly! Place your spoon in a 6 o’clock position in the cup and fold the tea towards the 12 o’clock position whilst making sure not to ‘clink’ the spoon against the sides of the cup. You must also remember to not leave the spoon in the cup, instead of placing it on the saucer to the side of the cup.
- The common misconception is that outstretching one’s little finger aids the balance of the cup when taking a sip of tea; this is almost absolutely not true and is not only pointless, but also looks ridiculous.
How to have a festive One Gin tea party at home
Step 1: Tea.
Make our delicious One Gin ‘Hot Tea Punch’.
Before we get started we have to put the ‘tea’ in tea party. Here is a delicious recipe for hot tea punch cocktail to share with your guests. A modern twist on the traditional tea party and you’ll be supporting clean water projects in the world’s poorest communities, as you sip.
Teapot & cups
100 ml One Gin
25 ml Acacia Honey
4 dashes Orange Bitters
50ml Lemon Juice
550 ml Hot Gardinia Tea
Build in a large teapot (serves 4)
Step 2: Sandwiches.
Now that you’ve ticked tea off your list, you should start thinking about what food to serve. As the One Gin team are self-confessed foodies you are in good hands.
Finger sandwiches are a must for any afternoon tea, but let’s not bore our guests with a shamelessly predictable sandwich selection. Here are some ideas that push the boat out
- Prawns with rocket, chilli and lime
- Hummus with grated carrots and raisins
- Goats cheese and watercress
- Prosciutto, asparagus tips and cream cheese with black pepper
For beautiful and different canape try these:
Step 3: Cakes and scones.
Cream or jam first? Both the Cornish and Devonshire people lay claim to the invention of the Cream Tea, and each has a view on the order of the toppings. The Devon tradition is cream first with jam spread on top, whilst the Cornish tradition is to slather the jam on and top it off with clotted cream. At the end of the day, it remains a matter of preference.
For those with a sweet tooth, the cake selection will make or break their afternoon tea experience. This is an area where you can really let your creative flair shine through check out out our below suggestions that are sure not to disappoint.
Gin, citrus and peppercorn eclairs:
Lemon and olive teacake:
Gluten-free chestnut and vanilla cake:
Step 4: Serve your tea in style.
Serving your tea beautifully will enhance the whole afternoon.. Why not use our handmade One Gin coasters?. The slates were hand-painted and the artwork was added using decoupage. Gold paint was added on the butterflies wings and then they were sealed for protection. The artist Janine Watson started her small business theuniqueboutiqueiw.co.uk this year and lives on the Isle of Wight with her husband and two children.
Festive Afternoon Tea Experiences
If a stay-at-home tea party is not quite what you’re looking for, then don’t worry.London is known for some of the most elegant afternoon tea experiences in the world. We’ve selected our favourites:
The Dominique Ansel Bakery: Festive Afternoon Tea
The Dominique Ansel Bakery serves afternoon tea each Thursday- Sunday at 2 pm and 4:15 pm. They offer a scrumptious range of sweet and savoury items. Sweet items include a lavender meringue with coconut ganache, passion fruit gelée and white chocolate pearls. While one of the varieties of savoury options is the avocado and feta mousseline with green chilli, coriander and squid ink choux.
Claridges: Festive Afternoon Tea
This Christmas, Claridges will be serving their festive menu only and will serve it from Monday to Friday each week. You can reserve on the Claridges website.
Claridges offers a wide range of tea and coffee options, alongside sophisticated finger sandwiches, Christmas pudding, scones and hand-made pastries. Of Course, One Gin is also served at the Claridges bar.
THE LANESBOROUGH: FESTIVE AFTERNOON TEA
Served in the elegant Céleste Restaurant or Withdrawing Room, the Lanesborough is the place to go for your festive afternoon tea. This is available from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm from Monday to Thursday, and from 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm from Friday to Sunday.
Enjoy the decadent festive pastry collection made daily by the Lanesborough’s pastry team alongside your choice of any of their exotic or traditional teas, scones and savoury options.
The Ritz: Traditional Afternoon Tea
Because The Ritz is the only hotel in the UK which employs a certified Tea Sommelier- Giandomenico Scanu- to source the highest quality teas, we know that their afternoon tea will be a truly decadent experience. Enjoy your scones, finger sandwiches and pastries alongside the delicate music played by the resident pianist and harpist. Afternoon Tea is served every day at 11:30am, 1:30pm, 3:30pm, 5:30pm and 7:30pm.
Served in the Mirror Room, Festive Art Afternoon Tea at the Rosewood is an experience like no other. In fact, this venue was voted The Best Contemporary Afternoon Tea in the UK in 2017 and 2018. Pastries at the Rosewood have been specially created by Mark Perkins who has taken design inspiration from the iconic British sculptor, Antony Gormley. The Rosewood also offers a wide range of finger sandwiches, teas, cocktails and scones.
Merry Christmas from the One Gin team.
By Anjula Nathan