Start-up soft drinks brand Two Keys has debuted a collection of sparkling tea-based mixers to pair with spirits.
Two flavours have been launched: Black Tea and Green Tea. The first variant, Black Tea, has a “sophisticated”, slightly smoky profile, whereas the “delicate” Green Tea has been developed to accompany craft gin.
While travelling, Two Keys founders Jack Herlihy and James Simpson found common ground as they sampled a broad range of spirits and mixers from around the world.
James said: “While there was huge diversity in the spirits, the mixers were invariably the same wherever we were. We wanted to create something new, and we discovered how well tea works with alcohol – it’s very refreshing, and complementary to artisan spirits.”
Two Keys sources its raw ingredients from artisan producers across the world: Ceylon Sonata, Assam and Lapsang teas are grown in India and Sri Lanka, while Konacha, Gyokuro and Tencha green teas are harvested in Japan.
Following research trips to New York and Tokyo to collaborate with specialist tasters, Jack and James experimented with varying quantities of many different teas to establish their final blends.
On arrival in the UK, the tea blends are cold-brewed for up to 48 hours before being blended, and then finally carbonated.
Jack said: “The wrong mixer can mask the individual flavours of the gin or vodka, but a bottle of Two Keys helps enhance them.
“Additionally, the teas are low in sugar, with a small, naturally-occurring kick of caffeine, and also delicious to drink alone. Most important of all, they’re of a quality that matches the most premium of spirits.”
Two Keys uses recycled glass bottles, with labels designed by Pencil Studio. Each label presents the tagline ‘Unlock Your Spirit’, and is illustrated with an animal with clashing markings, such as a zebra-striped elephant and a giraffe-print gorilla.
The bottle illustrations are a “visual play on going against the grain”, representing the unexpected pairing of tea with alcohol, as well the wildlife charities in India, Sri Lanka and Japan that sales of Two Keys mixers will benefit.