The Grey Earl

Like a fizzy tea-party on a hot day full of happy drunks in your mouth.

Tea-infused liquor galore!  After my initial trials with gin and peppermint tea, I wanted to take a shot at combining my favorite drink, Gin & Tonic, and my favorite tea, Earl Grey, in a holy union of serenity and awesome.  Alas, after many (many many many) taste-tests and failures, I realized that Early Grey + Gin + Tonic (tastewise) = A night of kinky sex play with a hooker that leaves everyone involved feeling ashamed, especially the duck that was used.  The problem is that there were too many flavors competing for top spot.  Both earl grey and gin have very distinct and unique tastes and even though tea-infused liquor tends to favor the tea, the gin was giving the earl grey a run for it’s money because of how tonic brings out the juniper in the liquor.  The final drinks were never bad, but when it’s the end of a long day nobody wants to have their cocktails taste confusing.  This only inspires contempt in the American heart, making us feel like we are not living in a democratic nation.

But I still believed the flavors of the bergamot in the tea and the juniper in the gin could cohabitate.  So I ditched the tonic, added a few more ingredients and ran many (many many many) more tests and happened upon a new refreshing drink!

The Grey Earl

– Gin
– 3 bags of Earl Grey Tea
– Club Soda
– 1 cup of Water
– 1 cup of Sugar
– Simple Syrup
– Blackberries

Even though one can infuse any liquor with anything easily enough, I have discovered that gin works best with teas.  Chiles and limes work great with tequila.  Vodka is like that girl at parties who is trying to overcompensate for her incredibly plain looks by inviting any and everyone into her bed: easy, but not adding much in the way of flavor.  And anyone who tries to infuse whiskey with any flavor should be hanged, shot, drowned, burned, hanged again, drawn, and quartered.  Be a man (especially you, women, you’re not off the hook) and take it straight.

"I'll put down the gun when you take it neat."

But gin and tea are natural together.  They both have an air of sophistication about them and yet are accessible to everyone no matter what social class.  They were made to go together.  I don’t know, maybe it’s all in my mind.  But then again, maybe you’re all in my mind . . . . . . I better get on with this.  I’m getting paranoid.

  • Put the three tea bags in a large glass.
  • Pour gin over tea bags.
  • Let the tea steep for a minimum of two hours and up to a maximum of a few days.  (I only let mine sit for about six hours. I wanted a nice even balance between the tea and the gin.)
  • While the liquor is steeping, make simple syrup by boiling 1 cup of water.  When water starts to boil, lower heat to a simmer and add in sugar.
  • Stir sugar until it is completely dissolved and then immediately take off the heat.  Let this sit until room temperature, and then pour into a squeeze bottle.
  • Once liquor has been infused, remove and discard the tea bags.
  • Fill a Collins glass with ice.  Fill ⅓ with the tea-infused gin.
  • Crush or blend a ¼ cup of blackberries.  Place in strainer and place strainer over Collins glass.
  • Pour club soda over the blackberries slowly, filling the rest of the glass.
  • Add a shot of simple syrup, although that really is up to how sweet you want it.

And there you go!  I decided to not add the berries directly to the drink as I only really wanted the drink to be slightly purple and I did not want to deal with any pulp or seeds while drinking.  This, like the Mint Tea Gin & Tonic, is surprisingly refreshing, although is doesn’t pack the wallop the Mint Tea G&T has.  The gin and the earl grey sit nicely together, their complex flavors mellowed by the club soda and sweetness of the syrup.  Great for a little get together taken on a sun deck in the afternoon.  Goes great with something salty and crunchy, like bruschetta or crackers and humus.