Sorry. Got a little excited with the caps lock key there. Don’t think that it wasn’t anything like that you dirty dirty person you.
Anyways, this time it’s hosted by Frederic and company over at Cocktail Virginia Slut. (What?! They’re blog isn’t named after our precious commonwealth but is actually “virgin“? Well, fine.) (Actually I knew that, but typo-ed, and thought it was funnier that way.)
So today’s is tea. And also today is Robert Burns Day, which means you should be drinking Scotch and eating haggis. Not that I’ve done either one (…yet) but it seems like despite my initial choice to find that mini of chai cream liqueur and dump it into some tea (which was also negated by it being gone, probably for almost six months now, oops) and avoiding using delicious, delicious Castries because TDN this week is “Nuts” (hee hee hee!) I figured I should do a tea/Scotch drink of some sort.
When I was a kid, my mom taught me how to make iced tea. She’s a Southerner, so it was sweet tea (and not that damned bastardization of “oh, we’ve got unsweetened iced tea and sweet & low NO THAT IS NOT HOW SWEET TEA WORKS) and my tea was what a friend of mine called “tea-flavored sugar sludge”. If I didn’t drink it quickly enough – and to be honest, I usually drank it at room temperature – it’d mold up something fierce.
Now today in DC might have been weirdly temperate, but I also wasn’t feeling great most of the day. (To continue over-using parenthesis, it was one of those “24 hour stomach blech” kind of days.) Thus, I figured something with hot tea. And sweet. Admittedly, it took until – oh, what time is it now – about 10 PM at night to be working on it, which means caffeine late, but fortunately for me a) I’m mostly able to ignore caffeine these days and b) I’ve got some stuff that will take care of that problem. So off I went.
I usually use Black Bottle blended Scotch for my drinks using that spirit but this time decided to use something with a bit more character to it and thus chose the Highland Park 12 year old. I’d bought a bottle of the 15 year old for my grandfather, who is also a Scottish Rite Mason – I’m not Scottish Rite yet but as a Mason I’d planned on joining once I remember to, you know, go to meetings and stuff – so I thought it’d be good.
As for tea, I had a variety pack from Twinnings. Earl Grey, Lady Grey, and English Breakfast Tea seemed too – well, English for a drink with Scotch, so I grabbed Irish Breakfast instead, bolstered by the fact that it’s the strongest tea in the pack. No, that doesn’t necessarily make sense (other than the “strongest tea” bit) but shut up.
Boiling water, five minutes steeping, let’s pour that into a bigger mug, and we need some liquors and sweetener. Hey, a friendly PR company sent me Barenjager! Now I’ve got some ideas…
Now that’s a “get you up and get you going” drink!
Ad Hoc Burns Night Tea Drink #1
1 1/2 ounces Scotch (Highland Park 12)
1 ounce Barenjager
2-3 dashes lemon bitters
Irish Breakfast tea
Brew a mug of black tea like your mom – strong and hot. In another mug, pour in the other ingredients. After the tea finishes steeping, pour it over the other ingredients and stir until blended. Drink, but not at 10 PM at night unless you have a desire to avoid sleep like the plague.
I don’t normally put lemon in my tea but I had the thought it might help, so I used some Urban Moonshine lemon bitters that they sent me (there you go FTC, yuk it up why don’t you). They also sent me maple bitters and I’m kind of wishing I’d used those instead – yeah, sure, I could make another drink, but I really don’t need one, especially as I have another idea I want to play with first. I might also have considered using the Fee’s Rhubarb Bitters (which I paid for thank you very much) or even regular aromatic bitters. THE POWER IS YOURS TO CHOOSE.
Let’s get back to delicious sweet tea. That’s all about the summer time to me so it’s time to get rid of the Scotch. Sorry, Scotch, you’ll have to wait until my next cigar, or next time I hang out with my grandpa. (And then I can finally share that mini of Highland Park 18 with him too, yummy.)
I thought about making something using Castries, that delicious, delicious Castries, and maybe some of the Chairman’s Reserve Rum (the former I’ve bought a number of times but got a single free bottle of and the latter I’ve already given away bottles of because it’s well priced and delicious and I’m in no way shape or form trying to influence Clyde into hosting a TDN) (maybe), but this week’s TDN is nuts, as I said before, and I’m basically repeating myself.
But sweet tea…
Last year it seemed like sweet tea vodkas were a huge thing, perhaps because, uh, they were. Maybe not as much in the “cocktail” world, because we can be some snooty bastiges when it comes to stuff like that, but I remember having bartenders telling me how quickly they were selling out of it. I did a taste test of the Firefly (regular) sweet tea vodka versus Sweet Carolina and the Firefly won by a huge margin. Let’s put it this way: Firefly is made in South Carolina near a tea plantation. Sweet Carolina is made from Maine. One of those tastes like chemicals, and to give a hint, it’s not the one called Firefly. I haven’t tried the flavored sweet tea vodkas but I can’t be bothered to pay my money for more variations of the same thing, and I haven’t tried Jeremiah Weed for the same reason, but I will admit I do like the Firefly.
And it might not be summer but it hit at least 61 degrees today (seriously, y’all in SoCal, just don’t even say it) so I want a sweet tea drink and I don’t feel like making my own sweet tea because I am very, very lazy.
For a summer type drink, though, I think I need citrus with my tea. Thus, we have my:
1 1/2 ounces Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce triple sec (Combier – also, again, a freebie)
2-3 dashes Bittermen Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters
Shake and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of orange peel.
I don’t know what I think of this drink yet – it’s fun, but I think it needs some work, and I think it needs to be in warmer weather. If it’s warmer for you, give it a shot!