Friday, January 30, 2015

tea julep

1 quart Tea Infusion (16 oz Ban-Cha Toasted Green Tea, 3 tea bags)
12 spray Fresh Mint (6 sprays)
2 Oranges (1 Orange)
2 Lemons (1 Lemon)
1/2 Medium Cucumber (1/4 English Cucumber)
1 pint Ginger Ale (8 oz Blue Sky Organic)
Sugar to taste (2 oz Florida Crystals Organic Cane Sugar)

Make the tea infusion and let stand for 6 minutes. When cool, pour into a bowl. Add half the mint, the oranges thinly sliced, the lemon juice, and the peeled and thinly sliced cucumber. Add sugar to taste, and let stand for an hour (I placed into the refrigerator to chill). Remove cucumber and the mint (I removed the orange slices as well). Pour 4 oz of infused tea into a glass of crushed ice. Add 2 oz of ginger ale per glass and garnish with mint and strawberries if in season. Makes 8 servings (here 4).

Back for Mixology Monday 49, the theme was "Tom Waits." I thought about what I would make this crooner who frequently sang about Manhattans and other boozy libations. However, it dawned on me that he no longer drank alcohol for he has been sober for over 20 years. It did not seem right to make a cocktail to serve in his honor, but I set about to figure out a mocktail (other than black coffee) that he might enjoy.
For a recipe, I looked in Bertha Stockbridge's What to Drink which was published in 1920 right after Prohibition started and Temperance drink recipes were greatly needed by those playing by the rules. Stockbridge has been touted as "the Jerry Thomas of the 'Nonalcoholic Drink'." Her attention to detail with measurements and her preparations of syrups and the like make her recipes stand out as elegant drinks regardless of their lack of alcohol content. Since our mint patch has come back with a vengeance, I was drawn to the Tea Julep. I scaled down the recipe and paraphrased the directions a bit (see above). While the drink took a lot longer to prepare than a regular Julep, the majority of this time was spent in the hour (I went 90 minutes) infusion time. The problem with nonalcoholic drinks is that they are often more labor intensive to produce something as satisfying, but the extra effort pays off and is quite the gift to the recipient who is often used to being poured a glass of soda or juice.

The Tea Julep's nose was filled with strawberry and freshly picked mint aromas. On the sip, sweet ginger and mint were up front, cucumber in the middle, and tea on the swallow. Indeed, I was quite surprised and pleased at how much the cucumber flavor leached out of the slices; however, I found the amount of orange notes to be disappointing. Finally, the lemon and the soda donated a refreshing level of crispness to the drink.

Originally posted on the Cocktail Virgin blog in May 2010, and adapted for this blog.

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