The 5th annual Victoria Tea Festival begins this weekend. We’re celebrating… with a drink!
There are umpteen ways to boost your cocktail’s flavour profile (and antioxidant power) with tea. Here are a few, including tea simple syrup, tea vermouth, direct infusion, and adding gin to tea, hot or cold.
Moses McIntee took the tea biscuit at our 2010 cocktail competition. His Olde Vic uses earl grey simple syrup. Here’s the easy version:
The Olde Vic
1.5 oz Victoria Gin
0.5 oz Campari
0.5 oz burnt earl grey syrup*
3 dashes twisted & bitter
*for syrup, heat 200ml water & 200ml sugar until dissolved. Add 2 tea bags & boil for 5 mins. Let cool & remove bags.
Combine ingredients in mixing glass with ice. Stir until chilled. Strain over new ice in an old fashioned glass & garnish with lemon peel.
The Olde Vic (and the T-shirt Kevin Brauch made for Mia)
We just can’t help mentioning the talents of Lauren Mote again, who has inspired us with her infusions. Lauren says that tea-infused vermouths:
are a great way to enjoy the subtle aromatics and palate of most herbal or slightly caffeinated teas, while finding an amazing use for that bottle of Dry Vermouth sitting in your fridge. Vermouth is subtle — adding light acidity and longevity to certain cocktails. Its sole purpose is to lengthen the finish of specific spirits.
Lauren shares this recipe for you to try:
Tung Ting Fizz
1 oz Victoria Gin
1 oz tea infused Noilly Pratt Dry Vermouth*
3/4 oz lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
2 oz sparkling water
1 egg white
Combine ingredients and shake hard for 1-3 minutes to froth egg white. Pour in collins half-filled with ice and top with soda. Optional: drop 3 dashes bitters on top in a triangle — with a straw in the centre it should look like a flower. Some people like their cocktails to go from light-heavy — So stir in bitters as required.
*For tea vermouth combine 7 tsp or 7 tea bags of oolong tea with 1L vermouth. Allow to “bloom” for 3-5 hours in fridge. Strain out tea. It is ready to use and has a fridge life of 30-60 days. Over time dry vermouth will lose acidity. 60 days later it’ll still taste great but not as fresh and potent as day one.
Spicy Mandarin Sparkle (makes 1 litre)
3 tbsp Spicy Mandarin tea*
o.5 cup Victoria Gin
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1.5 cups freshly squeezed mandarin juice
2 cups chilled sparkling white wine or champagne
Add tea leaves to gin. Wait 20 minutes and then strain. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Peel mandarin oranges, and squeeze ‘em with a citrus press.
Combine tea-infused gin with mandarin juice. Shake over ice and pour into a pitcher. Gently stir in sparkling white wine or champagne, to keep bubbles. Serve immediately in champagne flutes.
*Earl Grey, green teas, and other black teas also work well in this recipe.
Queen Candi Zell has High Tea in style at the Fairmont Royal York
And finally, sometimes we just splash a little Vic Gin in our hot cuppa — Silk Road’s Alchemist’s Brew is an in-house fave for that.
If you don’t get to the Victoria Tea Festival this weekend (or even if you do!) we hope you also enjoy a private spirit-filled tea festival. A little bird told us that spirits may also be involved in the Festival in the future. We’ll drink to that.