The Story Behind The Smoky Tea Penicillin

The Penicillin is one of my favorite cocktails — I love anything with fresh ginger. I was craving one recently, when suddenly I realized I was out of Islay Single Malt Whisky, the spirit that gives a Penicillin its smoky finish. I decided to substitute Lapsang Souchong tea, a smoky black tea from China. It worked beautifully.

This can also easily be made into a non-alcoholic cocktail by omitting the spirit: Just mix 2 ½ ounces of tea with 1 ounce lemon and 1 ounce syrup.


  • 1 ½ ounces Scotch
  • ¾ ounce lemon juice
  • ¾ ounce honey-ginger syrup (recipe follows)
  • ½ ounce Lapsang Souchong tea
  • Lemon slice, for garnish


  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake, and then strain into a coupe glass with an ice cube.
  3. Garnish with lemon slice.
  4. Optional: If you’d like, you can smoke the cocktail with some of the tea!

Rate This Recipe:

(45 votes)

Yield: 1
Updated: 2019-04-22

Honey-Ginger Syrup Ingredients

  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup of sliced ginger

Honey-Ginger Syrup Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over high heat.
  2. Simmer until the honey dissolves.
  3. Strain into a heat-safe container and let cool.
  4. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
The Smoky Tea Penicillin