MxMo: Tea

Barfolk like to party, right? Get a couple of us together, throw in a couple of bottles of booze, and just wait for the banter to kick in. We don't even have to physically meet up, either. In fact, once a month, one little corner of this whole wide internet becomes our block party because, once a month, there's a Mixology Monday. This month, Frederic and the crew over at Cocktail Virgin Slut have volunteered to provide those cool little bowls of snacky things, blankets for the overnighters and to cook us breakfast, just so long as we've had a good hard think about tea.

Tea Cup Pot by Eduardo Mueses on Flickr.

From Japanese tea ceremonies to a construction worker's tea break, tea is part of daily life across the globe. The attraction of this strange, exotic, herbal brew was one of the threads that drew colonial interest across the Ural Mountains in deepest Asia, threads that would bind together into trade routes and empires. It can represent sophistication and tradition just as easily as it embodies the chosen beverage of the working man.

And so we come to cocktails. The path through craft mixology is characterized by the search for new ingredients to incorporate into the cocktail tradition and tea is a compelling candidate. Whether it's a black, green or white tea, or indeed, any variation, tea can add complexity and depth to different styles of drink.

A demonstration, then. Take an existing recipe and tea it up. The basis for the drink is the Pearlescent, which has picked up a bit of pressover recent weeks. The original recipe calls for vodka, orgeat, Maraschino liqueur and a lemon zest, shaken and served up. It's a great drink in its own right, but it also offers room for maneuver when adding twists.

The first of these twists was to use gin - Beefeater 24, if only for the inclusion of Japanese sencha tea in its botanical mix. The second was to switch the Maraschino for Limoncello and the lemon twist for a grapefruit twist. The final change was the addition of an Earl Grey rinse. The end result still has the pleasing sweetness of the Pearlescent, but with the added bonus of the rich flavours from both the tea and the gin mingling with the other ingredients' citrus and almond notes.

The Incandescent

75ml Earl Grey tea
50ml Beefeater 24
2 barspoons Limoncello liqueur
1 barspoon orgeat
1 grapefruit zest twist

Rinse a chilled martini glass with the tea. Shake the other ingredients (including the zest) with ice and fine-strain into the chilled, rinsed glass.

Posted on January 26, 2010 and filed under Mixology, MxMo, Recipes.