Afternoon Gin Tea

Afternoon Gin Tea
Makes 1 Pot, Serves 2

Gin time and tea time are both entrenched British traditions, and the pair makes quite a heady cocktail. The British colonized much of Asia, and in the process, they brought over their traditions, including a proper English tea. This cocktail picks up both citrus and smoky notes from Lapsang Souchong, a black tea that originates from the Chinese prov­ince of Fujian and is made of Lapsang leaves that have been smoked over a pinewood fire. Gin, of course, has a lurid history as the bathtub spirit of choice during Prohibition, when the homemade brew was clan­destinely served in teapots as part of the afternoon ritual. For parties, I like to mull a big batch of this “tea” with Asian-forward herbs like star anise, black peppercorns, and Kaffir lime leaves. As a wink to tradition, I pour the cocktail from a teapot into teacups.


1 star anise pod

1 dried Kaffir lime leaf, crumbled

5 whole black peppercorns

¾ cup hot brewed Lapsang Souchong tea (from the tea bag)

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons honey

4 ounces (½ cup) Bombay Sapphire East gin

Fill a small square of cheesecloth with the star anise, Kaffir lime leaf, and peppercorns; tie it closed with twine. In a teapot, combine the spice bag, hot Lapsang Souchong tea, ginger, and honey. Add the gin and stir. Serve immediately in teacups.

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