Another title for this post might've been "The Earl Grey MarTEAni Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Mix My Favorite Cocktail."
I don't know about you, but there are plenty drinks I love to order in bars and restaurants, but for some reason or another, never get around to attempting at home.
A delicate mixture of Earl Grey tea-infused gin, sugar, and lemon juice, shaken up with a deliciously frothy egg white, and garnished with finely-grated lemon zest, the Earl Grey MarTEAni had always been on the top of that list for me. But just this week, I finally rolled up my sleeves and gave it a try. And it all turned out to be easy.
The main reason I'd been holding off on this recipe for so long was the Earl Grey infusion. Up until now I'd never flavored my own alcohol, but after speaking to Mike Sherwood of Sub Rosa Spirits (see last week's post), I felt inspired. Turns out, Earl Grey-infused gin is just about as easy to make as a pot of tea.
And the rest is simple too. Created by Audrey Saunders, the cocktail goddess behind all the delicious offerings at NYC's Pegu Club, the Earl Grey MarTEAni is really just a riff on a basic sours recipe: Alcohol (in this case, the infused gin), sugar (in the form of simple syrup), and citrus juice (in this case, lemon). Egg white is added for volume and texture, and a mixture of grated lemon rind and granulated sugar rims the glass as a final touch.
The end product is a very delicate, almost contemplative, cocktail. Kind of like a cup of Earl Grey tea with sugar and lemon, except it's cool and frothy and comes with a juniper-y gin kick. Really one of my most favorite drinks of all time.
If this sounds like the kind of cocktail you'd like, I urge you to try it. (The recipe can be found in the San Francisco Chronicle, as adapted by Gary Regan here). You'll need a high-proof gin (Tanqueray is recommended), and the tea needs to steep in the alcohol 2 hours before it's strained. Once that's done, you can throw things together really quickly.
- Regan calls for 1 litre of gin and a 1/4 cup of loose tea, but I scaled things down, using a 375ml bottle of Tanqueray, and 3/4 ounces (or 1 1/2 Tbs) of tea. Rumor has it that the infusion will keep almost indefinitely in the fridge.
- For the sake of convenience, the lemon zest and sugar rimming mix should be made up ahead of time as well. This will keep a week in the fridge for subsequent batches. (Tips on rimming glasses here.)
- If you don't have simple syrup on hand already, you can whip some up in a matter of minutes - just equal parts of sugar and water. (For full instructions, plus other uses once you've made yourself some, see our previous post at The Kitchn here.)
- If you're squeamish about the egg white, you could leave it out, but I encourage you to give it a try. It's all about texture and volume, it doesn't affect flavor. (More on that in a previous post.)
Are there any cocktail recipes you've been meaning to try? Tell us! (And who knows, maybe you'll end up mixing one up too, while you're at it….)
- "The Cocktailian: Steeped in Fine Cocktail Lineage" (with a recipe for the Earl Grey Marteani), by Gary Regan for the San Francisco Chronicle
(Images: Nora Maynard)