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Here's A Fancy Tea Party Where Everything Is Infused With Booze
If High Tea sounds too stodgy for you, what about a tea service that gets you a little tipsy? L'Ermitage in Beverly Hills is now offering a twisted tea, or what they're calling an "afternoon tea for the wicked." It's an afternoon tea service where absolutely everything is infused with booze, including the tea-based cocktails from mixologist Michael Arballo and the bites from Chef Roger Thomas, who heads the kitchen at the hotel's restaurant LIVELLO.
We tried this service one afternoon and found it quite pleasant. It's a little pricey—$75 per person—but includes two cocktails (one is technically part of the sweets menu) and lots of food. The relatively quiet lobby lounge and relaxed pace makes for a social special occasion or catch-up session with friends.
The menu moves from savory to sweet, starting with finger sandwiches: smoked salmon with dill on Fernet Branca pumpernickel; egg salad with elderflower liqueur and lemon aioli on pullman loaf. Though I'm not typically a fan of egg salad, these bite-sized sandwiches were light and fluffy, and a good protein base for the rest the boozy afternoon. Our favorite savory dish, however, was the leek-and-mushroom gratin infused with Armagnac brandy. It's a welcome departure from the sweetness of the cocktails with a unique texture.
On the sweet side, expect thick chocolate brownies drizzled with cognac and caramel; passion fruit liqueur and chocolate macarons; and warm cinnamon beignets served with Calvados apple cider, which comes off like a sweeter hot toddy. We recommend sampling the bite-size beignets and cider while they're warm, then nibbling through the rest of the treats. The brownies and the macarons are the two items with the most boozy flavor, though the sweetness of both makes for a dessert that's not too bitter.
The service is rounded out by two types of scones, both served with butter and jellies. We enjoyed the cranberry, gin and orange scone, but the bacon and bourbon scone was the clear favorite.
Both of the spiked tea cocktails are on the sweet side, but are more summery and refreshing than saccharine. Our favorite was the Peach and Strawberry Pimm's Cup. You could also choose the Hibiscus and Chamomile champagne cocktail, the sweeter of the two.
It turns out it's a nice place to pass a weekday afternoon if you have a job where light day-drinking is not frowned upon:
Wicked Tea is available between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily through the end of June. It's $75/person and includes one cocktail or hot tea. Add on extra cocktails from the tea menu for $15 each. 72 hours notice is required, call 310-860-8660 to make a reservation.