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.


Mint Tea Gin & Tonic

Mint Tea Gin & Tonic

Fizzy.  Minty.  Alcoholy.  Perfect . . . y.

MUAHAHA, not even herbal tea is safe from my drinking habits!  While surfing the world wide interwebs a year ago, I happened upon some instructions on how to create flavored liquors with teas.  The instructions were pretty simple (Step 1: Add tea.  Step 2: Wait.  Step 3: Drink.) but the possibilities that they opened up were endless.  Infusing liquor, or any other liquid, usually takes time, effort and patience.  If you want your rum to taste like apples, you’ll have to wait for at least a week before you get past the, “hmmm, this kinda tastes different,” stage.  But with teas the waiting time is cut down to about an hour at the minimum.

So I set off to discover how I could improve on some of my favorite cocktails, starting with my favorite, the Gin & Tonic.  After some failed experiments (horrible, horrible failures, one of which used Earl Grey, that ruined the gin entirely, although I still drank all of it) I found a combination that worked splendidly.  Peppermint fuses well with the flavors of gin, and the drink turned out to be very refreshing. 

Mint Tea Gin & Tonic

– Gin
– 3 bags of Peppermint Tea (I prefer Stash Tea, but any will do)
– Mint Leaves
– Tonic Water

I love cocktails, so few ingredients.  Now I wouldn’t use a very expensive gin with this.  I don’t mean to tell you go to the bargain barrel (because I’d like you to, you know, stay alive) but to take something like Bombay Sapphire (my favorite gin) and alter the flavor is a waste of money.  Infusing can take mediocre liquor and make it something spectacular, but it can also ruin it if you’re not careful.  For me I go with New Amsterdam gin as it’s a decent gin that comes at a very decent price, but any middle of the road gin will do.

  • Put the three tea bags in a large glass.
  • Pour gin over tea bags.
  • Let the tea steep for a minimum of two hours, up to a maximum of a few days.
  • Remove tea bags, squeezing out all the liquid.
  • In a tumbler, crush some fresh mint leaves.  (Don’t crush them too much.  I got a little vigorous with my mint leaves, which left me spitting little bits of leaves every time I took a sip.)  Place ice in the tumbler.
  • Make a G&T with the infused gin.

Concerning mixing:  You may have noticed that my measurements are not exact.  I like my drinks a little on the strong side, because while I wouldn’t step over my mother’s body to get to a drink I would certainly drag her along with me as I went to it.  For my cocktails, measuring is all in perspective of the ice.  My tumbler has enough room for two ice cubes stacked on top each other.  I fill my glass with liquor until just before it reaches the top of the first cube and then I fill the rest with mixer.  This method gets more interesting as the ice melts so you have to estimate on where you would have stopped if the ice was still whole.  It also gets more interesting the drunker you get as you just stop giving a shit altogether.

The end result will depend on how long you let your tea soak.  If it’s just for a few hours, the gin will be mint flavored.  If you let it soak for a few days it’ll be tea with a kick.  However, adding the tonic will help to bring out the flavors of the gin so it’s not a waste.  In this particular instance, I let the tea steep for about three days and so my end result tasted more like a hard iced tea.  But because it was made with real hard liquor instead of malt liquor like you might at the store I was fairly tipsy by the time I finished.  Feeling weird drinking tea from a tumbler, I took my second Mint Tea Gin & Tonic from a tea cup.  I felt like some English lord drinking like that.  Maybe it was tea cup, maybe it was the liquor (I was drunk after the second glass), maybe it was the top hat and the monocle that I was wearing (I mean I was drunk after my second glass).  But it was refreshing and pleasant, and would have gone well with cucumber sandwiches or shortbread cookies.