Since the 1950s, tea dance parties have been the perfect complement to an afternoon cup of tea, glass of martini, and the vibrant gay dance scene. They were once a way for closeted gays to live loud, proud, and boisterously while enjoying guilty pleasures such as dancing and alcohol. Nowadays, you can enjoy a tea dance just about anywhere…or even plan your own!
Tea dances are also an excellent way to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, especially because there are hundreds of rainbow brews and spices from which to choose. If you’re trying your hand at planning a tea party for the first time, here are a few need-to-know tips, tea mixes, and spices that you should have in your pocket.
Tips For Planning a LGBTQ+ Tea Dance Party
High tea isn’t always an elegant affair. In the 60s, the gay tea dance scene was just about as lively as any party could get. Your tea dance party can be as loud, rambunctious, or sophisticated as you want! Whether you’re on a budget or have a pretty penny to spend, here are a few LGBTQ+ tea dance party-planning tips.
Save the Date
As with any event, you’ll want to pick an appropriate date. If you’re hosting a large number of people, the earlier you plan, the better! Plus, you’ll have ample time to design your invitations.
Depending on the occasion, you can hand out invites that are as simple or as flamboyant as you want. Also, think about what type of party favors you want to prepare. Personalized rainbow party tea bags and ribbons will do. If your budget can afford it, you might even consider a rainbow cup and saucer set!
Shortlist Some LGBT Party Themes
Since tea dances were wild and rambunctious in the 1960s, there’s no reason you can’t go even bigger when choosing a theme.
Pick a theme that speaks to you and center everything around it – from plating to decorations. If you prefer something a little more “out there,” why not throw a Mad Hatter-themed bash, complete with giant teacups?
Plan Your Menu
Carefully planning your menu is the key to a successful and delectable tea dance party. Naturally, you’ll want to serve tea, but you also have to think about the type of food – and alcohol – that is going to go on your menu.
Typical tea party menus will include pastries, sandwiches, biscuits, and scones. As for alcohol, vodka and gin are always a hit! Later, we’ll talk more about what brews, sugars, and spices you’ll need in your tea dance party arsenal.
Your tea sets should be the center of attention when it comes to decorations, so don’t be shy to bring out your best china. However, a rainbow tea dance won’t live up to what it’s supposed to be without a bit of oomph. You can place a whimsical arrangement of flowers on each table, and even take it a step further with streamers, balloons, and rave lights.
Nowadays, you won’t find any shortage of dance studios that specialize in tea dance training. That means if you’re planning a party on your own, you’re going to want to brush up on your tango, foxtrot, waltz, and cha-cha skills! Plus, no tea dance party is complete without a bit of voguing, death dropping, and dipping! Of course, the type of dancing you want to occur at your gay party (if any) is entirely up to you.
Spices, Salts, & Sugars You Need on Your Menu
As with any tea dance party, what you’re serving is the most critical decision of the planning process! We’ve shortlisted a handful of rainbow-themed ingredients that you might want to add to your shopping list.
Red – Cajun Spice
This versatile spice brings Louisiana flavors to life and adds a kick to any delicious poultry or seafood dish. It is a spicy-hot blend of peppers, onions, and garlic, perfect for grilling, searing, or baking. We recommend using it to garnish a New Orleans-style shrimp cocktail in classic martini glasses. Pair this dish with a milder, palette-cleansing tea, and you’re good to go!
Orange – Tandoori Roasting Spice Blend
If you’re a fan of Indian food, a tandoori blend is a perfect complement to a matcha-centric tea party. You can sprinkle it onto spiced chicken or coat your favorite meat with a savory yogurt-tandoori mix.
While traditionally cooked in a tandoor oven, you don’t need one to make a mouthwatering tandoori chicken for your adventurous gay tea dance. Instead, you can grill your chicken after coating it in a marinade of tandoori, yogurt, and other spices.
Yellow – Indian Yellow Curry Spice Blend
Add this mild curry powder to your meat or vegetables, throw in a splash of coconut milk, and pair it with a side of chai tea for the perfect meal!
If you’re pressed for time but want to serve something zingy and intense with your chai, incorporate this Indian yellow curry spice blend into a delicious savory vegetable curry!
Green – Holy Guacamole
Who doesn’t love guacamole? This blend of cilantro, garlic, onion, and jalapeno peppers features an unexpected kick of lime frost, sea salt, and black lime that makes any dip come to life. Sprinkle it onto a cucumber guacamole tea sandwich, or get a little adventurous with matcha guacamole to bring your green tea party full-circle!
Blue – Wild Blueberry Sugar
There’s nothing quite like the taste of freshly-picked blueberries at a gay garden tea party. If the fresh variant isn’t available in time for your big bash, you can use this infused sugar instead. Mix it into a refreshing glass of electric lemonade, use it to top your favorite ice cream, or even add directly into your tea.
Indigo – Lavender Flower
Known for its stunning color and aromatics, lavender has long been a welcome addition to any tea party – gay or not! What you may not know is that you can use lavender for just about anything, from rubbing onto meats to tossing into casseroles. If you haven’t yet added something sweet to your menu, you have to give lavender dandelion muffins a try!
Purple – Merlot Sea Salt
Subtle in taste and stunning in color, merlot sea salt has to make an appearance at your rainbow tea party. Because it is primarily a table garnish, it’s perfect on the rim of your margarita glass.
Delectable Rainbow Tea Blends
Now comes the essential part of your tea dance party: the tea. With so many teas on the market to choose from, it can be challenging to decide what to serve. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of colorful drinks for you!
This herbal tea is rich in warm spices, making it the perfect addition to hot apple juice or red wine. Thanks to its slightly tart notes and a kiss of cinnamon, this tea pairs well with sugar cookies and sweet biscuits.
Orange – Blood Orange Tea Sparkler
Are you looking for something to get your taste buds tingling? This blood orange tea sparkler comes with a bag of orange smoothie herbal tea and Florida sunshine sugar – perfect for a sweet and zesty cocktail! This combo screams tipsy tea.
Yellow – Peach Turmeric Herbal Tea
Did you say tea and spices? This vibrant yellow tea is delicious when served either hot or iced. Fragrant, bright, and rejuvenating, this peach turmeric herbal tea is perfect to serve on a hot summer day – and there are a lot of those in Florida!
Green – Matcha Tea
This classic matcha green tea tastes even more delicious when paired with a seafood cocktail, chocolate-based dessert. or even a barbecue dinner…if you’re adventurous!
Beyond its stunning deep blue color, this blue raspberry crushed herbal tea is a perfect pick-me-up in the sweltering summer heat. Add a splash of citrus plus a dash of gin, and you’ll be buzzing all day.
Indigo – Blueberry Black Tea
If you’re a fan of full-bodied, luscious berries, blueberry black tea should definitely make it onto your tea party menu. Whether served hot or cold, this tea is bound to go down smooth and tart. Attendees with a sweet tooth will love pairing this tea with Earl Grey cupcakes.
Purple – Mystic Dragon Tea
Adventurous palettes will love this mystic dragon tea, which marries vegetal flavors and a strawberry twist. As with most green teas, you’ll want to pair the mystic dragon with a seafood platter or vegetables.
The Rainbow – Roy G. Biv Tea
No tea dance/gay bash is complete until every guest has had a sip of this rainbow tea! It combines fresh and bright botanical flavors with a touch of tropical fruit to make your palette (and attendees) dance. Serve it hot or cold to enjoy a playful punch of hibiscus and butterfly pea flowers.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, your modern tea dance party is entirely up to your interpretation. When it comes to gay tea dance parties, the louder the better. But even if you’re not a fan of the tango or the cha-cha, you can still enjoy a colorful variety of tea flavors and endless menu possibilities!
You can stock up on everything you need by shopping with The Spice & Tea Exchange of St. Petersburg, which hosts charitable events for Metro Inclusive Health and other LGBT groups.
Want to learn more about tea dance parties before hosting your own? Check out upcoming events on OutCoast.
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Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.