Friday, 23 November 2012

Empire Tea - a warming cocktail of my own device

I've been wrestling with a dilemma for a while now. Should I tell you about one of my favourite things, and potentially make it too popular and less good, or should I hoard the knowledge to myself? The thing is, I've been going to a gin club for over a year. But it's getting really busy and I don't want anyone else to go to it. It's mine and I don't want to share. But I have to tell you about it so you understand where this drink comes from.

You see, at one meeting, the guest distiller was Chase, who make a delicious apple-based vodka and gin in Herefordshire. How very British. Then I discovered that they make a marmalade-infused vodka as well. Britisher and Britisher. And it was recently discounted at the supermarket, so I nabbed a bottle (eye for a bargain, arguably British).

I have also been enjoying the King's Ginger, developed to provide sustaining warmth to Edward VII in 1903. OK, so he was half German, but still VERY BRITISH.

Since ginger and marmalade have such an affinity (in flavour as well as both being terms for orange cats), I was kicking around ideas on how to combine Chase Marmalade Vodka and the King's Ginger in a cocktail. My first idea, for a champagne cocktail, didn't really work. It was, if you can believe it, too alcoholic. So I was thinking about what to use to lengthen it. What is more British than anything else? Tea.

This tea is, unfortunately, French, but since the British monarch only stopped using the title "King of France" in 1801 I am reclaiming, temporarily, a corner of Paris for the Empire.

I served this to a friend who'd arrived to stay on a cold day, without weather-appropriate clothes, and she found it thoroughly warming and reviving. Not as syrupy as a mulled wine or cider, more fortifying than a straight cup of tea. Edward VII would be proud.

Empire Tea (per serve)

35ml Chase Marmalade Vodka
35ml the Kings Ginger
150ml strong Mariage Frères Chandernagor tea (flavoured with cloves, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and pepper, delicious fruits of colonialism)
1 lump crystallised ginger and, if properly organised to have such a thing, 1/4 slice of orange.

Put the booze into a robust glass then pour in the hot tea. Garnish with a lump of ginger and float a quarter of an orange slice on the tea. Nibble the crystallised ginger whilst sipping the steaming tea.

I could have done more with the presentation


leaf (the indolent cook) said...

Glad you decided to share this! Love the flavours... so warm and spicy.

SheriNJ said...

This sounds absolutely wonderful. Never heard of these ingredients or of a gin club. If there was one around here, I would join.

Simona Carini said...

Very interesting even for a non-drinker like me. Mariage Frères has amazing teas. It's nice that you can get them in London.

Joanne said...

I often feel that way about my favorite restaurants! This drink sounds super warming and delicious...I love ginger in drinks!

Angie's Recipes said...

Don't worry, I don't drink cocktails any more. Used to really love gin based drinks. This one with ginger sounds really exciting.

Anne said...

Sounds like a perfect pick me up!

I recently got hooked on chai tea, love all those warming spice flavours


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