Tea and Vermouth

Tea is every Englishman’s drink of choice, so what better way to delve deeper into the world of cocktail experimentation than by adding tea to some classic recipes?

A number of sources I’ve consulted have suggested tea-infused sugar syrup or tea infused bourbon, but inspired by some recent reading, I’ve decided to prepare some tea-infused vermouth – a staple of a number of the old favourites already featured on this site.

On recommendation I’ve opted for a green tea infused dry vermouth and a chai infused sweet vermouth.  The former to provide a healthy jasmine tint to the classic Martini, and the latter to spice up (quite literally) my Manhattans and Whiskey Sours.

The tea I’ve used has come from Jeeves & Jericho, a pair of upstarts from Oxford, who front a jolly good tea company and have been powering this site during daylight hours thanks to their delicious Scottish Brew.

Infusing any liquid with herbs, spices or tea leaves is a fairly simple process and is best worked at over time using a trial and error approach.  With that in mind I’ve opted for two slightly different recipes.

China Jasmine Dry Vermouth

  1. Add one tablespoon of loose leaf green tea to 500ml of dry vermouth.
  2. Leave to infuse for twenty-four hours.
  3. Sieve and store in an air-tight bottle.

Spiced Masala Chai Sweet Vermouth

  1. Add six tablespoons of loose leaf Chai tea to 200ml of sweet vermouth.
  2. Leave to infuse for thirty minutes.
  3. Sieve and store in an air-tight bottle.

The Chai Sweet Vermouth is almost instantly ready for its first outing in a Chai Manhattan:

  1. Stir 50ml whiskey, 25ml chai vermouth and three splooshes of your preferred bitters (I used Boker’s) with cubed ice for sixty seconds.
  2. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  3. Garnish with a cinnamon stick or a twist of lemon.

After twenty-four hours, the Green Tea Martini was ready as well:

  1. Stir one part green tea vermouth, five parts gin and three splooshes of a fruity bitters (I used dandelion & burdock) with cubed ice for sixty seconds.
  2. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  3. Garnish with a twist of grapefruit or lemon.

Delicious and refreshing, both; just like the tea that inspired them.

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