The Earl Grey Sour

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I was away on a work trip over Canadian Thanksgiving and didn't have the time to prepare for my annual dinner with friends. That said, I'm making up for it this weekend with a fall-themed gathering for some of my closest confidants and wanted to surprise them with a little cocktail.

Many of my guests aren't whiskey lovers. I had to come up with something warm and full-bodied but relatively fresh — a bit of a transitional cocktail suitable for late summer nights and early autumn evenings. 

12km Gin

The SAQ had recently received 12km, a "gin boréal" from the Saguenay–Lac-St-Jean region of Quebec. What I like most about this award-winning spirit is its complexity. It has a smooth, round, pine taste that blends nicely with lighter, delicate floral notes on the finish. 

I didn't feel like tarnishing the beauty of this gin with an earl grey tea infusion, but I also didn't want the cocktail to be overly sweet if I were to turn the tea into a syrup — which I did!

To counter the sweetness, I let my simple syrup infuse for about an 45 minutes once it was off the heat. Some of the tea's bitter notes carried through without being overwhelming. The bergamot still sings powerfully and that beloved earl grey depth wasn't lost.

I often find that a dash of fresh lemon juice also helps a great deal to cut through the sweetness and balances out the cocktail. Since I was heading toward the creation of a Sour — the name given to cocktails that have an alcohol base, a sweetener and a sour juice — I figured that throwing an egg white in there may give it the body I wanted. You know? Something light that still sticks around. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 oz 12km Monts-Valin Gin Boréal
  • 3 dashes Dashfire Bitters Lavender Bitters
  • 2 oz earl grey-infused simple syrup
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 egg white
  • Ice

METHOD

  1. In a shaker, add all of the ingredients save the ice.
  2. Give it a dry shake for a good 30 seconds.
  3. Add ice, shake again for a good 30 seconds.
  4. Pour and sprinkle with dried lavender.

So while we're at it: are there other tea-based cocktails you'd suggest? I've been trying to dream up a nice, deep syrup that could complement the Aperol in a Winter Solstice version of the Spritz. Got some ideas? Leave them in the comment section!

Mick Côté