Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Tea for two

Ok this is my first stab at mixology monday. This time round the host is cocktail virgin with a theme of tea. Whilst I do enjoy the Capt Picard (A martini of Earl Grey infused gin, with a touch of lemon juice) I wanted to do something different. I have a bit of an odd relationship with tea, possibly due to an unfortunate encounter with Bewley's Breakfast blend brewed terrifyingly strong at an early age. I do however like that most maligned of teas Lapsang Souchong. I also like whiskey (& whisky) I tend to go for the big smokey blends, in fact the more it tastes as if it was wrung out of a peat sod the more likely I am to give it shelf space.

Oban is a place I visited a few times and they make a fine malt, that sometimes gets called an island due to the saltiness of having you distillery on the sea front. The tasting notes for the Oban are smoke,honey,salt,orange in no particular order. This and a recent reading of Embury gave me an idea, could I boost the flavours & smooth out the alcohol ?

Ingredients, The Oban 14yr old, its quite easy to find as its one of "the six classic malts". I find it a gentle whisky that won't really offend or scare anyone. A medium lapsang (this is actually from a Dutch tea merchant :- Simon Levelt ,who als supplied the smoked Earl Grey for the Picard). Some local honey. Hoppe's orange bitters.Finally some good sea salt (I think this is Kosher salt for US readers).

Since  I drink a fair amount of loose tea I have tea filters (DIY tea bags) around, that makes the infusion a bit easier. The colour of the Oban doesn't really change dramatically during the infusion, so keep an eye (and a taste on it, we don't want it to get bitter). The lapsang and the Oban go well together the earthy lapsang is up at the front, the whisky filling in the body behind, but still on the fierce side. How though would it be best to bring it together. My first thought was a Manhattan variation, since it's a versatile classic, but I was worried the vermouth would overpower the notes I wanted. Then it dawned on me, bitters, sugar & whisky, that is an old-fashioned.

Tea for two a modern twist on an old fashioned.
A couple of flakes of sea salt go in the bottom of your glass (I couldn't resist the glass tea cups, sorry). (as an aside, I'm quite sensitive to salt, you might want to up to maybe a half pinch) Put a half bar spoon of honey in & then add a couple of spoons of orange bitters, stir/muddle the salt & honey into the bitters, splash in some of the tea infused whisky & a couple-3 ice cubes. Stir/muddle till everything is dissolved. Add more whisky to the depth you or your drinkers enjoy, stir a bit more and then remove the ice cubes. Put a fresh ice cube into each glass, pare off a bit of orange zest and then squeeze (flame if you like or are trying to impress) to get the oils onto the surface of the drink, and drop into the glass as decoration.

What you should get is a boosted Oban that is smoothed out and notched back from its usual fierceness.


  1. I have had good luck with Lapsang Souchong and smoky Demerara rums, so this seems rather tasty! Thanks for your MxMo submission!

  2. Wow wow wow! This is awesome! Salt and bitters and whiskey and Lapsang Souchong in an Old Fashioned, this sounds like my kind of drink! Well done!! Check out my MxMo post here: http://spiritedremix.blogspot.com/2010/01/mxmo-tea.html

    I enjoyed the post, sir!

  3. Nice drink! I had a similar one a while back and made an infusion of Lapsang Souchong in Laphroaig 10 with magnificent results. http://www.ginnotvodka.com/2009/08/sometimes-dumb-ideas-are-best.html

  4. Dnadasi :- actually your post inspired me, I infused the Lapsang into Caol ila. It requires a whole post, hang on.