Martha Stewart Living - A New Leaf

From Japan to the United Kingdom, tea is steeped in history - perhaps more than any other beverage. But with their boozy tea parties and hugely original blends, the trio behind Bellocq Tea Atelier is infusing their brews with 21st-century cool.

For most of us, the words tea party conjore up little girls pouring imaginary beverages for their dollies or fussy old English ladies nibbling scones. Heidi Johannsen Stewart, Scott Stewart and Michael Shannon - the cofounders of Bellocq Tea Atelier - have a more intriguing idea. When in the mood to entertain, they light a candle in the window of their shop in Brooklyn, New York, signaling that all are welcome. 

Inside guests might find an accordion player, a chocolatier hosting a tasting, or a bee keeper debuting his honey - and they will most certainly be offered one of Johannsen Stewart's novel cocktails, blended with tea. "It's a more festive way to enjoy tea," says Johannsen Stewart.

The combination does make sense. Pots of Ceylon and mixed drinks are both traditionally consumed in the hours between afternoon and evening, as a means of boosting spirits and taking the edge off. In place of tea sandwiches, Johannsen Stewart recommends less dainty fare, such as dark chocolate, cheese and smoked fish.

Would Queen Victoria have approved? Maybe not, but that isn't the point. "This isn't English teatime," says Shannon. We want Bellocq to reflect our time and our culture."

Full Article and Recipes Published in Print and iPad: Martha Stewart Living, March 2012

Photography: Anna Williams

Text: Jenny Comita

Styling: Ayesha Patel

Food: Heidi Johannsen Stewart

Location: Bellocq Tea Atelier

Surfaces and Interior: Saaw, Inc