So all of you know that I love cocktails, but I cannot exactly have cocktails at work. Well, I suppose I could, but then I would not have a job for much longer! At work, I drink a lot of tea. I mean a lot. I have an entire file drawer dedicated to dozens of types of loose leaf teas. Teas go particularly well in cocktails. For example, lapsang souchang will provide a smoky kick that can only usually be achieved with a smoky scotch. And jasmine green tea provides lightness and a floral element to cocktails. I find that the floral notes work particularly well with gin, as you will taste in the Jasmine Gin Fizz.
2 ounces jasmine green tea-infused gin (steep 10 ounces of gin with a tablespoon of jasmine green tea for 1 hour)
1 ounce lemon juice
3/4 ounce runny honey (1:1 honey mixed with warm water)
1 egg white (or 1/2 ounce of egg whites from a carton)
Add all of the ingredients except for the soda water to a shaker. Do not add ice yet. Shake vigorously for one minute. Add ice to the shaker. Shake again until chilled. Strain into a coupe or other low glass. Top with soda water.
So key element here is clearly the jasmine tea. So let's talk about that for a second. First, the tea. I love jasmine green tea, but the jasmine aroma is commonly used to mask sub-par green tea. If you have a choice then always go for whole leaf tea, which costs more, but does not contain stems, dust, and other things found in cheaper teas. I personally like Mighty Leaf, but there are many options. Second, the infusing. 1 tablespoon in 10 ounces of gin for 1 hour yields the perfect flavor. Gently shake the gin as it is infusing once or twice during the hour. The gin should end up a nice golden straw color. If you steep too long then you will end up with a bitter infusion, as with any tea.
The sweetener which rounds out this great summer cocktail is runny honey. Honey is fantastic to use in cocktails as it adds depth that you otherwise would not get from simple syrup. Mixing it 1:1 with warm water reduces the viscosity of the honey, making it way easier to shake and incorporate in the cocktail. I had a very nice orange blossom honey, which I used here. It added to the floral element in the drink. But any honey will do. Remember to mix the runny honey as needed. Honey does not spoil because bacteria need water to grow and in honey, the free water is tied up with the sugars. The runny honey will spoil if it sits too long and since it's so easy to make as needed there is no need to make it in quantities beyond what is needed.
The Jasmine Gin Fizz is a great twist on a classic. The floral jasmine, the light and refreshing green tea, and the depth of the honey, create a complex summery cocktail. I will not go as far to say it is better than a gin fizz, one of my all time favorite drinks, but it is different and more complex. Try it and I think you just might agree with me.