Guest Author - Beth Schreibman Gehring
I love the trend towards lighter fresher cocktails, something about a handcrafted drink seems to make it more appealing and enables me to drink it slowly savoring the pure flavors that develop with each sip. I really don't enjoy the trend towards a cocktail menu with 300 different martinis, each trying to recreate a different variation of a flavor that should be easily found in nature! For my taste they rely too heavily on sugar , alcohol and dye to be exciting to my palate , what with the trends quickly turning towards a greener , organic standard! The latest example that I was forced to taste was a bright orange offering called "Pumpkin Pie Spice" and it was way too vapid and synthetic for my liking. Besides, it would be so easy to recreate by simmering a simple syrup infused with cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest and clove. Why would you ever have to rely on a red dye substitute unless you absolutely had to?
Too often though I find myself without the time to make a spiced syrup..... then what's a thirsty girl to do? The answer is to be found in the tea cupboard among all of the Celestial Seasonings and Tea Forte's bags that sit unloved and unused everyday! Many of them are made with delightful combinations of herbs and spices and are the perfect solution to add exciting and exotic flavors to your favorite libations!
The process is very simple and totally gratifying! All you need to do is place a teabag in a glass and pour several ounces of your favorite vodka over the top. The alcohol will immediately begin to steep, taking on the flavors and the colors of the tea and you'll be excited, so many of them create such beautiful colors!
In the Tea Forte' line, I especially like the Lavender Citrus as it imbues the vodka with a soft pink glow, but try them all and let me know your favorites!
Once the teabag (or Tisane' if you're French!) has steeped to the color, scent and flavor that you wish remove it and add a simple fruit nectar , or freshly squeezed juice to the vodka over cracked ice for a simple yet utterly delicious cocktail. It's fun to garnish these drinks with elements from the tea. For example if you were using a tea made from Hibiscus flowers you could garnish the cocktail with a fresh blossom that you'd dipped the edges in egg whte and bar sugar. How about a skewer of crystallized ginger to go with a cocktail that has been infused with Chai spice or a stem of fresh lavender flowers and a bit a candied lemon rind to go with that Lavender Citrus vodka!
I have attached the wonderful Tea Forte' website that has a simple movie that shows how to create these delicious cocktails! I hope that you'll find it to be as fun and informative as I have!