Smoky Orange: Lapsang Souchong and Orange Tonic

Lapsang Souchong tea has a distinctive smoky flavor that is achieved by smoking the drying tea leaves over pinewood fires.  Given its robust character, it’s a popular ingredient for flavoring mocktails (and cocktails alike), including this delicious Lapsang Souchong and Orange Tonic.

In addition to its beautiful smoky aromatics, the tea provides a rich mouthfeel that is complemented by the zesty citrus flavors of the orange, lemon and marmalade.  

There are only a few splashes of tonic in the mocktail, but the sweet and slightly bitter quinine adds yet another dimension of flavor to the drink.

It’s a hybrid of iced tea and G&T, but unlike anything you’ve ever tasted.  

And, better still: it’s alcohol-free.


  • 4 oz. (120 ml) Lapsang Souchong tea, cooled (see below)
  • ½ oz. (15 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (approx. ½ a lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon of orange marmalade
  • 1 ½ oz. (45 ml) tonic water

For the tea:

  • ½ teaspoon of loose leaf Lapsang Souchong tea
  • 4 oz. (120 ml) water

    Note:  If you are using a tea bag, you will need to prepare the tea with 8 ounces of water to ensure that it doesn’t get too strong.  Once cooled, measure out the 4 ounces needed for the recipe and discard the rest.

To garnish:

  • Quartered slices of orange
  • Orange peel spiral


  • Kettle
  • Mug
  • Tea infuser (or strainer) – if using loose leaf tea
  • Jigger or measuring spoons
  • Citrus juicer
  • Shaker
  • Cocktail spoon
  • Highball glass


  1. First, prepare the Lapsang Souchong tea.
  2. Pour just-boiled (but not boiling) water over the tea and leave to steep for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the tea leaves (or tea bag) and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  4. Next, prepare the mocktail.
  5. Into a cocktail shaker, add the cooled tea, marmalade, and lemon juice.
  6. Throw in a handful of ice and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds until the outside of the shaker is extremely cold.
  7. Pour the mixture into a highball glass, then fill to the brim with ice.
  8. Top with tonic water and use a cocktail spoon to gently mix the ingredients together.
  9. Garnish with orange slices and an orange peel spiral.

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Lapsang Souchong and Orange Tonic FAQ

What is Lapsang Souchong?
Lapsang Souchong is a type of black tea that originates from the Wuyi region in China. It is known for its distinctive smoky aroma and flavor achieved by smoking the drying tea leaves over pinewood fires.

Can I replace Lapsang Souchong with another tea?
While Lapsang Souchong is recommended for this recipe due to its distinct smoky flavor, you could substitute it with another black tea if needed.  You could try using other smoky teas like Russian Caravan, or if you prefer a milder taste, a plain black tea.  It’s important to keep in mind that this substitution may alter the overall flavor of the drink.

What type of marmalade should I use for this mocktail?
You can use any type of marmalade that you like: with or without peel. 

Can I use tea bags instead of loose tea leaves?
Yes, you can use Lapsang Souchong tea bags instead of loose leaf tea.  However, you will want to prepare the tea with 8 ounces of water to achieve the right strength.  Once the tea has cooled, simply measure the 4 ounces needed for the recipe and discard the rest.

How long should I wait for the tea to cool down to room temperature?
Depending on the temperature of the room, it should take between 15-20 minutes to cool the tea to room temperature.  To expedite the process, pour the tea into a large shallow dish.  Alternatively, you could put it in the fridge too.

Can I use a different type of citrus fruit instead of lemon?
Yes, you can use different citrus fruits instead of lemon.  It is recommended to use tart fruit such as grapefruit and lime to keep the linear structure of the mocktail.

Do I need a cocktail shaker for this recipe?
It is recommended, but not necessary to use a cocktail shaker for this recipe.  If you don’t have one, you can stir the ingredients in a large glass or bowl filled with ice instead.  It will take longer than using a shaker, but will achieve the same effect.

What type of glass should I use to serve this mocktail?
This recipe specifies a highball glass.  However, you can serve the Lapsang Souchong and Orange Tonic in any glass you like.  For example, a stemmed gin and tonic glass could work just as well.

Can I use a different type of carbonated beverage instead of tonic water?
The tonic water adds another savory layer to the drink, but you could replace this ingredient with soda water or lemon/lime soda if you prefer.  Be aware that it will change the character of the drink.

Did you make this?  Tag me @mightymocktail or use the hashtag #mightymocktail!

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