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A Tea in the Desert Cocktail

Learn how to make a mint tea-based gin cocktail that nods to Morocco and is a fixture on the menu at L'Antiquario in Naples, Italy, where it's known as Un Tè Nel Deserto.

illustration featuring teapot, glass, herbal leaves, orange slices

This gin cocktail starring mint tea pays homage to Moroccan hospitality, but comes via acclaimed Naples bar L’Antiquario. Illustration: Ella Ginn

Beautiful, chaotic Naples pulsates, seduces, and inevitably tires. After a day of touring Teatro di San Carlo (the world's oldest opera house), strolling by the sea, and devouring la pizza napoletana. sunset means it is time for a seat at L'Antiquario. Peering into the window of this bar in the city's Chiaia area, one notices just how pleased guests look as they spend the evening winding down with a Negroni or Penicillin over the sounds of a live gypsy jazz trio. The atmosphere here is decidedly classy, with a plush ruby-hued banquette, for example, backdropped by botanical-print William Morris wallpaper that has a Japanese-meets-Art Nouveau flourish. Bar staff don spotless white jackets as they painstakingly prepare the classics and originals like Un Tè Nel Deserto, an homage to Moroccan hospitality and the locals who graciously offer just-brewed, fresh mint tea to guests in small glasses seemingly around the clock.

“Transforming this hot drink into a cold cocktail was an interesting exercise for me as a bartender,” admits L'Antiquario owner Alex Frezza. Poured tableside out of a Moroccan silver teapot from on high at L'Antiquario, it's a hypnotic ritual that instantly telegraphs the ancient Medina of Marrakech's meandering alleys.

Reprinted with permission from Behind The Bar: Gin (Hardie Grant UK) by Alia Akkam

A Tea in the Desert Cocktail

A Tea in the Desert Cocktail

Recipe by Alia Akkam
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Prep time


Cooking time




  • 2 fl oz 2 gin

  • 2 fl oz 2 brewed mint tea, cold

  • 1 fl oz 1 lime juice

  • 2/3 fl oz 2/3 simple syrup

  • 2/3 fl oz 2/3 orange curaçao

  • 1/3 fl oz 1/3 Fernet mint sprig, to garnish


  • Embrace the ‘throwing’ method by using two mixing tins.
  • Place the gin, tea, lime juice, simple syrup, curaçao and Fernet in one tin with ice and, with the
  • help of a strainer, pour the cocktail from one tin to the other.
  • After seven to eight passes between the tins, pour the liquid into a teapot filled with several ice cubes.
  • Pour the cocktail from the teapot into a Moroccan mint tea glass and garnish with the mint sprig.

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