Recently I spent some time driving around the UK with a dear friend. We tasted excellent scotch, ate loads of black pudding, and I for one (while fighting off a cold) consumed literal liters of tea.
As fortune would have it, there is another quintessentially British product that loves to mingle with other flavors: London Dry Gin. In this case I used Beefeater to make what may be the fastest possible infusion one can do - Earl Grey Gin.
As tea time waits for no one (I’m sure that’s a saying), here are two recipes to use the gin-tea infusion; the first with a bold tea flavor and the other with just a hint.
The Earl of Amber
For this cocktail figuring out a way to preserve the spirit of a good cup of tea was the ultimate goal. As the saying goes, when the tea-infusion is ready a perfect mixer will appear (I’m sure that’s also a saying). Fresh off its win as Best New Spirit at Tales of the Cocktail, Italicus came riding in gorgeously dressed (it's Italian after all) to report for duty. With it’s rose, bergamot, sweet and bitter flavors, it is the perfect ingredient to enhance and complement the flavors of the Earl Grey tea. A small amount of blanc vermouth and acid phosphate for balance, with a little lavender bitters is all it takes to finish this cocktail.
1 oz Tea Infused Gin
3/4 oz Italicus Liqueur
1/4 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1 Bar Spoon of Horsford’s Acid Phosphate (this could be replaced with lemon juice, but I wanted the sourness without the lemon flavor)
2 Dashes Lavender Bitters
This is more or less just a standard French 75 but using the Earl Grey Gin.
1 oz Tea Infused Gin
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Honey Simple Syrup (made by dissolving one part honey in one part water)
2-3 oz Dry Prosecco or Champagne
Combine the gin, lemon juice and syrup in a shaking tin with ice. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds and strain into a champaign flute. Top off with prosecco/champagne to taste. Express oil from a lemon peel into the drink and float the peel for garnish. Served up.
Should you want some other excellent tea options that don’t call for the DIY infusing, consider some of these fine chaps:
1) FEW Breakfast Gin
2) Malahat Black Tea Rum
3) Gabriel Boudier Darjeeling Tea Liqueur
4) Charbay Green Tea Vodka
Now keep calm, and carry on enjoying these tea inspired cocktails. Cheerio!