No-Booze Penicillin 1.000

Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post; styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Spirits Aug 14, 2019

The Penicillin, bartender Sam Ross’s blended Scotch cocktail, has become a modern classic, known for its rich, spicy balance of flavors. This nonalcoholic riff picks up many of the original drink’s notes, substituting rich, smoky lapsang souchong black tea for the Islay whisky in the original. Lapsang souchong tea is available at many gourmet markets and online. Note that this drink contains caffeine.

Make Ahead: Make ahead: You can prep the drink up to 2 days in advance; refrigerate it until you’re ready to serve and shake it prior to pouring.

Storage Notes: The drink can be stored, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 1 servings

  • 3 tablespoons loose-leaf lapsang souchong tea
  • 3 cups (24 ounces) boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1 cup honey
  • 8 to 10 ounces fresh lemon juice (from about 6 lemons)
  • Ice
  • Candied ginger (optional), for garnish

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In a teapot or heatproof bowl, infuse the tea in the boiling water. Let steep for about 4 minutes, then strain out the leaves.

Add the ginger and honey to the tea, stirring gently until the honey is dissolved. Allow the mixture to infuse for 15 to 30 minutes, then strain out the ginger, pressing gently on the solids to squeeze out any remaining liquid. You should have about 3 1/2 cups of liquid.

Add 6 ounces of the lemon juice, then taste and add more until the balance of sour, sweet and spicy is to your liking. Refrigerate the drink until ready to serve.

Serve the drink over ice, garnished with a slice of candied ginger.

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Recipe Source

M. Carrie Allan

Tested by M. Carrie Allan.

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