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A G&Tea recipe to keep calm and cocktail on

G & Tea


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
The sheer terror of driving on the left side of the road while navigating impossibly small streets, and conversely, the serene stillness of the expansive countryside created a pavlovian need for tea.  Since then, it has colonized the flavor seeking regions of my brain and like not many British reigns, has successfully ruled ever since. Luckily tea, produced with steeping in mind, may also be the worlds easiest infusion ingredient.

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. 
To make this simple infusion all I had to do was steep 5 bags of Earl Grey tea in a 2 cups of gin for about 1.5 hours. After draining and discarding the teabags I was left with gin that had an incredibly strong taste of tea.  It even took on some of the bitterness of tea that has been steeped for too long; not a desirable quality for a cup of tea, but turned out to be an asset in tea used for cocktailing. This G&Tea isn’t exactly a great sipper by itself, but as a cocktail ingredient it’s perfect for capturing a true tea flavor, and while I used Earl Grey, nearly any tea (caffeinated or not) should work nearly as well. 

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
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

Combine all ingredients in a shaking tin with ice. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds and strain into a coupe glass. Served up. 

The Chunnel

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!
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