January has come and gone, and, with it, Dryuary is over. But I had some fun with mocktails! So expect to see some every now and then. But for February, at least, we’re going to spend some time exploring alcohol’s beautiful ability to absorb flavors from whatever you throw into it. That’s right – infusions! We’re starting with a simple drink that showcases the delicate flavors of green tea: a Green Tea-Infused Gin Sour. – Andrew
Green Tea-Infused Gin Sour
2 oz Green Tea-Infused Gin
1 oz Lemon
1 oz Honey Syrup
To infuse the gin: combine half a bottle of gin (375 ml) with 2-3 green tea bags in a non-reactive container, giving it a shake periodically. Since the tannins in tea can quickly turn an infusion bitter, sample periodically and remove the tea bags once you start noticing hints of bitterness. Tea infuses very quickly, so you may need only a couple of hours, and probably no more than a day, for a full infusion.
To make the honey syrup, combine equal parts water and honey in a saucepan. Heat gently, over low heat, stirring frequently until the honey has melted into the water. (Honey by itself is too thick to blend easily into cocktails, so you have to melt it into a syrup first.)
To make the drink: combine the gin, lemon, and honey syrup in a shaker filled two-thirds with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a star anise pod floated on top and enjoy!
The result is a delicate gin sour, with lots of green tea flavor up front and an earthy, sweet-and-sour finish. I was actually surprised that the green tea dominates this recipe so thoroughly, since juniper-forward gin and honey aren’t exactly quiet, shy flavors. But there you have it.
Star anise is a fun garnish for drinks like this that highlight spicy or herbaceous flavors. It looks fantastic floated on top of a drink and, especially if you toast it slightly beforehand, releases some wonderful spicy aromas as you sip.
(Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, where we’ve been posting our experiments before they make their way onto this column!)
Glassware by Liquorary
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper