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
– 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.