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Inspired by this thread, tonight I fooled around with some previously tea-infused Ten Cane rum I'd had laying about for quite some time.

2 oz. Cyclone tea infused Ten Cane

.75 oz. Kassatly Ajyal Apricot syrup

.75 oz. fresh lemon juice

.5 oz Marie Brizard Poire William liqueur

.5 oz. Rhum Clement Creole Shrub

two dashes Fee Brothers Orange Flower syrup

Shake over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a large lemon twist.

Here's what the finished product looked like:

gallery_7409_476_60338.jpg

It was attractive in the glass and relatively tasty. My problem was that the tannins in the tea were much too prominent. Although this might be from lying around too long, I seem to recall that even when the infusion was "fresh" this was an issue. So how to compensate?

When Pegu Club infuses the gin for the Smokin' Mar-tea-nis how big a batch are they making? Would it be wiser to perhaps infuse a simple syrup with the tea and use that in the cocktails to avoid the acrid flavors of too much tannin? Is it even possible to consider doing this on an a la minute basis? How long would people be willing to wait for a fresh artisinal cocktail? How's that going to work at 9PM on a Saturday night in a really busy bar? Is it the black tea vs white or green tea issue? What about that lovely loose Earl Grey with Violets I have in my cupboard? I'd love to do something with that, but I'm afeared from this experience to try.

I'd love for any of you professionals with experience in this to chime in. Sam? Audrey? Don? I await your advice with much anticipation because there's a whole world of stuff I could be doing if I could figure this out...

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Katie-

Did you leave the tea leaves in the rum for months? I'd imagine the trick to controlling the tannins lies in choosing the right tea (I'd bet a malty Assam or a very tippy Yunnan would go best with rum) and controlling how long it infuses into the booze. The timing is going to have to be tailored to the form your tea is in... if it is big whole leaves it will take longer than if it is leaf pieces or the product of CTC processing. Color would be a good indicator to rely on at first, I think. Once it gets to light golden, start tasting.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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It was attractive in the glass and relatively tasty.  My problem was that the tannins in the tea were much too prominent.  Although this might be from lying around too long, I seem to recall that even when the infusion was "fresh" this was an issue.  So how to compensate?

[...]

I'd love for any of you professionals with experience in this to chime in.  Sam?  Audrey?  Don?  I await your advice with much anticipation because there's a whole world of stuff I could be doing if I could figure this out...

Maybe this stuff is too obvious to point out...

With steeped teas, prominent tannins tend to be a function of steep time, concentration, type or quality of tea. With concentration, type, or quality of tea being the most likely culprits.

I'm not familiar with Cyclone. Is it an English Breakfast type? In my experience those tend to be the most tannic, especially if they are the type with the finer broken leaf pieces. You really have to be careful with concentration and steep time on those, or they become undrinkable.

Larger leaf, high quality teas tend to be a bit more forgiving of steep time and/or concentration. With high quality Chinese green teas, I often do not even bother to remove the leaves from my glass.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Here is one of Gary's SF Chron articles, on Audrey's Earl Gray MarTEAni. The infusion is 1/4 cup of loose Earl Gray tea into 1 liter of Tanqueray for 2 hours. This recipe in New York Magazine calls for 4 tablespoons (aka 1/4 cup) of Earl Gray tea into 750 ml of Tanqueray for 2 hours.

The Earl Gray infused gin is plenty tannic after two hours, and I certainly wouldn't want to infuse it any longer than that. One of the things that makes this cocktail work so well is that the egg white works to tame the tannin and smooth out the cocktail. Even then, there is a fair amount of that tannin drying effect in the finish.

--

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Try Jasmine tea with stoli raspberry vodka, shaken with a couple of fresh raspberries, ice and a little cranberry juice i like it short like a martini but it works long over ice too - jasmine teabreeze, mmmmm

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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Our hosts have already covered the important stuff, but there's also a bit about tea infusions (and other interesting concepts) in Audrey Saunders' article in Mixologist, volume one. The gist of it, as I recall, is to taste the infusion regularly to get the right strength and measure the time in hours, rather than the weeks or months you might normally let something infuse.

If you haven't, try her Earl Grey 'Marteani', it's quite wonderful.

-Andy

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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On the way to work I was trying to think about whether there would be some difference between cold infused tea and hot infused tea. Depending on the heat stability of the substances in tea there might be some differences in which would be expressed or destroyed by heated water and those present in a room temperature infusion.

But, while I was thinking about that, it occurred to me that the big difference is probably between the properties of the solvents.

Alcohol tends to be a much more efficient solvent of certain organic compounds than water. Possibly, that makes more of a difference than the temperature of the infusion. Some of the organic compounds not normally present in water based tea infusions are probably being dissolved by the alcohol.

Folks who know more about organic chemistry and botany could probably say better.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Erik: When you infuse something into alcohol, you are getting alcohol-soluble substances and water-soluble substances. This is because even 100 proof alcohol is 50% water by volume. You would only start missing out on some of the water-soluble substances at very high proof.

You'd be surprised how many things infuse very well into just water. For example, in making a lime syrup the conventional wisdom would be to infuse the lime zest into alcohol and then incorporate the lime-infused alcohol into a simple syrup. But, in fact, lime infuses into plain old room temperature simple syrup pretty well. It's not the same as the alcohol-into-simple method, but it works quite well and some people prefer the water infusion over the alcohol one. They don't call water the Universal Solvent for nothing. (Both water and ethanol are polar protic solvents.)

--

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Looked a little more into this, it appears that most of the group of substances classed as "tannins" are, in fact, water soluble. There are a couple notably large ones that are not; but, from my cursary search, those are mostly found in pomegranates not tea.

Some sources said that glycerine, rather than alcohol, can speed the extraction of tannins from plant sources.

I did find this quote on the stash tea website, for the sticklers among us, "Polyphenols give tea its characteristic astringent flavor. In the past, these polyphenols have been mistakenly called 'tannins.' Polyphenols are chemically similar to tannins, however tannins are not present in tea."

Green Tea

edit - more thoughts...

Because one of the definitions of tannin is something like, "chemicals used for 'tanning'", and no one uses tea for tanning leather, I suppose they can say the chemicals in tea aren't tannins.

Though, if they are functionally and chemically similar, it seems they are splitting hairs to me.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Here is the Wikipedia entry on tannin. In relevant part, it says:

Tannins are astringent, bitter-tasting plant polyphenols that bind and precipitate proteins. The term tannin refers to the source of tannins used in tanning animal hides into leather; however, the term is widely applied to any large polyphenolic compound containing sufficient hydroxyls and other suitable groups (such as carboxyls) to form strong complexes with proteins and other macromolecules. Tannins have molecular weights ranging from 500 to over 20,000.

Tannins are usually divided into hydrolyzable tannins and condensed tannins (proanthocyanidins). At the center of a hydrolyzable tannin molecule, there is a polyol carbohydrate (usually D-glucose). The hydroxyl groups of the carbohydrate are partially or totally esterified with phenolic groups such as gallic acid (in gallotannins) or ellagic acid (in ellagitannins). Hydrolyzable tannins are hydrolyzed by weak acids or weak bases to produce carbohydrate and phenolic acids. Condensed tannins, also known as proanthocyanidins, are polymers of 2 to 50 (or more) flavonoid units that are joined by carbon-carbon bonds, which are not susceptible to being cleaved by hydrolysis. While hydrolyzable tannins and most condensed tannins are water soluble, some very large condensed tannins are insoluble.

--

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I'm not familiar with Cyclone.  Is it an English Breakfast type?  In my experience those tend to be the most tannic, especially if they are the type with the finer broken leaf pieces.  You really have to be careful with concentration and steep time on those, or they become undrinkable.

Erik:

Cyclone tea = Sencha green tea, violets, marigold, rose petals and orange rinds. It's something I purchase from my local tea shop House of Tea here in Philly. I don't even think it's listed on the website but it's delicious - almost like an edible potpourri. It's also my source for the Earl Grey with Violets I mentioned.

Did you leave the tea leaves in the rum for months?

Chris:

Definitely didn't leave them in for months. I don't remember how long I'd steeped it for originally, but I think it may have been about 4-6 hours? Obviously too long is the answer.

The Earl Gray infused gin is plenty tannic after two hours, and I certainly wouldn't want to infuse it any longer than that. One of the things that makes this cocktail work so well is that the egg white works to tame the tannin and smooth out the cocktail. Even then, there is a fair amount of that tannin drying effect in the finish.

Sam:

That explains a lot. My most successful use of this infusion in a cocktail did indeed have egg white in it. Thanks for the article link as well!

Thanks to all of you for your assistance. I guess I don't have a definitive answer on the appropriate length of time for each infusion, but I certainly have some better guidelines now. I guess further experimentation is the only way to figure our timing and methodology.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Making Jerry Thomas' United Service Punch last night (details and photos to follow) part of the procedure is to make a sort of tea syrup.

I have to say, I was quite taken with the flavor of the darjeeling, (first flush namring estate for any tea geeks out there,) syrup I made. Definitely going on the list of things to try in cocktails.

Add 1 generous teaspoon darjeeling tea to pre-heated teapot (or other insulated container) filled with hot water. Add 1 cup raw demarara sugar and stir to dissolve. Steep a bit longer than the typical 5 min. Strain out tea leaves, allow to come to room temperature*, and chill before using.

*I suspect, like ice tea, it would cloud if chilled too rapidly.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Sam,

The tea used at Flatiron in the Beijing Peach is Jasmine Pearl, green tea flavored with jasmine. We have a new cocktail on our winter menu called "English Breakfast which is made with Chamomile and mint (herbal teas)infused Plymouth gin, lemon juice, honey and egg white. My first tea infused cocktail was the "Hawaiian Iced Tea" which was made with a tropical black tea. I generally put this on my summer menu.

The Beijing Peach is the top selling cocktail at Flatiron.

Julie

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Julie:

Care to share your tea infusion technique with us? Sounds like you've been doing this for a while and have it down.

I'm curious about the Beijing Peach recipe too, if you're really feeling benevolent... :biggrin:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Katie,

When I am infusing spirits with tea, I fill up a sink with hot water and submerge the bottles in it for a while to raise the temperature of the gin or vodka. All teas are different, I have done infusions where I leave them for 45 minutes, and others up to 3 hours. With black teas, or highly tanic teas you must be careful not to leave them sitting to long as they will cause your end product to become bitter. When I am working with a new tea, it is really trial and error. The new chamomile cocktail sat for 1 hour, and we strained it out and tried it in a few cocktails, but were unhappy with the chamomile flavor. Round two we let it sit for three hours which worked beautifully. The Beijing Peach recipe is below.

Beijing Peach

For one bottle of vodka, I use Smirnoff: Place 2 ounces of Jasmine Pearls in a container and muddle them to break them up. Pour vodka over and let sit for 2 hours. Strain through a fine strainer.

2 ounces Jasmine infused vodka

1 ounce White Peach Puree

1/2 ounce Fresh lime juice

3/4 ounce Simple syrup

Shake and strain into a cocktail glass

Garnish: Orchid

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Julie:

Thanks so much! That definitely gives me something to work with.

And thanks for the recipe! Will try one soon. In fact, next time in in NYC I'll plop down at your bar and order one and try it in it's natural habitat.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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  • 1 year later...

I've recently been queried about a drink that appeared at the Pegu Club a couple of years ago that a friend remembers fondly and would like to replicate. It was a jasmine infused gin and peach drink, as far as the recollection of the imbiber goes. Anybody have any ideas on the constituents of this drink?

My guess is that it was a cousin of the Earl Grey MarTEAni, hence Tanqueray infused with jasmine tea, and with something peachy mixed into the souring component... Anybody have other guesses or (even better) actual knowledge about this drink?

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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The Violet Hour has featured two tea drinks that I know of. The Lady Grey, made with (I believe) Plymouth, Twinnings Earl Grey, simple syrup, egg white and a lemon twist. That was on the winter menu and was fantastic! The Palmer D'or is on the spring menu and is made with Beefeater, Orange Pekoe Tea, lemon and egg white.

Edited by newbie21 (log)
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I'll pass along the reference to the Beijing Peach, but was hoping that somebody here actually knew what Pegu was serving so the replication could be pointed at what was actually remembered.

Now that I think of it, I'd bet that some of the more potent oolongs would infuse into gin with spectacular results... I'll have to give that a shot soon. I'm thinking that the woodsiness of a Bai Hao might work really well.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Are you sure your friend isn't simply misremembering the venue? It seems very unlikely to me that Pegu would have been serving a jasmine tea infusion and peach drink right around the same time as Flatiron. Seems more likely that your friend had the drink at Flatiron.

--

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Because I hate to waste good booze, I find tea syrups to be an interesting avenue of experimentation.

Basically make a 2x batch of tea, strain out the leaves, then add an equal amount of sugar. Stir until it dissolves, cool and have fun.

Darjeeling was fantastic, Dragon Well pretty interesting...

I think Keemum will be next...

Much faster to make and easier to control amounts and steeping times than with a room temp alcohol infusion.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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