Is tea the nation’s favourite drink? I prefer gin but then as owner of a gin distillery, I would! However I am rather partial to a cup of tea and do enjoy a small mug of rooibos before bed and occasionally with breakfast unless I need a coffee caffeine kick.
Tea themed cocktails
For each distillery cocktail demo we choose a theme, such as apple cocktails, martinis, chocolate cocktails, cocktail bitters etc and for our next one we’ve chosen gin and tea cocktails. For each gin cocktail we present we try to include a new technique or two to give you some insight in cocktail mixology and give us the opportunity to experiment and play with flavours and gin combinations.
This tea cocktail demo features three different types of tea and explores syrups in classic cocktails plus the creation of a milk punch where the curds and whey are separated using a citrus juice, in this case, lemon juice.
The tea selection
You might not be aware that we use rooibos, sometimes called red bush, in our Campfire London Dry, Cask Aged and Navy Strength Gins as one of the ten botanicals. It’s a South African herb grown only in the Cederberg coastal mountains and is naturally caffeine free. It is low in tannins, calorie free and packed with powerful antioxidants when consumed as a tea, but these health benefits are negated when combined with alcohol! In our gin we want the fruity, smokey flavours to shine through.
For our tea cocktail with rooibos we’ve used rooibos and vanilla rooibos tea bags to make a Rooibos Gin Old Fashioned. Earthy, smokey notes from the rooibos blend with our Campfire Cask Aged Gin bringing out the fruity notes from the bourbon cask resting with a sweetness derived from the vanilla rooibos.
Everyone has a box of peppermint tea in the cupboard purchased and then forgotten about. Well, our suggestion would be, don’t leave it in the cupboard, get it out and make a delicious minty syrup which you can use in cocktails. You might not always have fresh mint to hand so this is a perfect way to add a hit of sweetness and peppermint freshness. Like rooibos using peppermint tea in alcoholic cocktails does negate the calorie and caffeine-free goodness but then we’re not suggesting you have cocktails every night! Just occasionally!
Most traditional gin mint julep cocktail recipes call for the use of muddled or shaken fresh mint leaves but we prefer to make a syrup using peppermint tea bags and then to garnish only with fresh mint.
For our final tea we’ve selected a Ceylon tea grown in the Dimbula region of Sri Lanka from Two Spoons Tea in Chesham. It’s a light and zesty tea, full of flavour that pairs well with the milk punch created for the GT Punch cocktail recipe which also features Campfire London Dry Gin and a rich, bold red vermouth from Australia’s Regal Rogue.
Rooibos and peppermint tea syrups
The recipe to make the syrups is exactly the same for both the rooibos and peppermint tea bags.
2 Tea bags – rooibos or peppermint depending on which syrup you are making
50g Castor sugar
Boil the water in a saucepan, add the two tea bags, take off the heat and rest for 10 mins. Remove the tea bags, bring the tea to a boil again and then reduce the heat. Add the caster sugar and stir until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let it cool. Store in an air tight sterilised bottle in the fridge.
Rooibos Gin Old Fashioned
100ml Campfire Cask Aged Gin
20ml Vanilla rooibos tea (1 teabag)
10ml Rooibos tea syrup
1.25ml Bitter Union Aromatic Bitters
Firstly prep the rooibos tea syrup as described above under Syrups.
To make the Rooibos Gin Old Fashioned brew 1 vanilla rooibos teabag in 60ml of boiling water for 2 mins. Remove the teabag and let the tea cool to room temperature then refrigerate.
Add the rooibos tea syrup, Campfire Cask Aged Gin and Bitter Union Aromatic Bitters to a cocktail shaker with a few ice cubes. Shake for about 30 secs.
Fine strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and add the cold vanilla rooibos tea. Garnish with orange peel.
Gin and Peppermint Tea Julep
50ml Campfire Old Tom Gin
25ml Peppermint tea syrup
Crushed ice and ice cubes
Fresh mint leaves for garnish
Firstly prep the peppermint tea syrup as described above under Syrups.
To make the Gin Julep shake the gin and peppermint tea syrup with the ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Fine strain into a pre-chilled julep cup which is half-filled with crushed ice. Stir. Top with more crushed ice and stir again, repeat until frost forms on the outside. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.
First make the milk punch.
Zest of two large oranges
250ml Campfire London Dry Gin
500ml Whole milk
15g Black tea – we used Ceylon Tea from Two Spoons
250ml Lemon juice
150g Castor sugar
Combine the orange zest and Campfire London Dry Gin in a bowl, cover and leave to macerate for 12 hours or overnight.
Warm the milk over a medium heat for 3-4 mins until the milk is warm but not hot. Stir in the tea and remove from the heat. Leave to infuse for 5 mins.
Now combine the milky tea, gin, lemon juice and sugar in a bowl. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and leave to sit for 1 hour.
Line a fine-mesh sieve with a piece of muslin and suspend it over a bowl. Pour in the milk mixture and leave to strain. Discard the curds.
Pour into a sterilised glass bottle and seal tightly. Stores for up to 1 week in the fridge.
Once the milk punch is ready you can make the GT Punch cocktail.
30ml pre-chilled Regal Rogue Red Vermouth
120ml Milk punch
Shortbread biscuits to serve
Pour the milk punch and vermouth into a pre-chilled teacup. Give it a gentle stir and serve with a shortbread biscuit.