Sometimes I make something for the first time and I wonder why it’s taken me so long to get round to it. Iced tea is one of my favourite drinks, especially lemon iced tea, but other than a passion fruit and jasmine version I concocted a few years ago I’ve not made my own since. I wanted to make some to take on a recent picnic as I thought it would be nice and refreshing in the late summer sun. Considering this only uses three ingredients, I used the very best ones I could: all organic and the tea I used had the wonderfully, British, charming name ‘Georgian Old Gentleman’.
I like tea and I like gin. I particularly like earl grey and gin based cocktails so I thought it was about time that I got creative with my cocktail shaker and tried these two tastes together. Not for my own benefit of course, all in the name of experimenting. Whenever I make a cocktail I am always amazed at how the slight slip of a hand can affect the end taste of the drink; too sweet, too acidic, too much alcohol. Then again, you can add a bit more of this and a bit less of that depending on your tastes.
I thought I knew a bit (at least) about Twinings but I learnt so much! They have been operating out of the same shop in London since they started in 1706 and have a huge variety of tea available; all sorts of flavours and blends. It takes five years to become a master tea blender and, once qualified, you get a special teaspoon engraved with your name on (I really want one of those!). I also didn’t know that Twinings originally created Earl Grey; that’s why theirs is called The Earl Grey.
You will need (for around 1 litre):
No matter what the tea there is always an appropriate occasion for it. For example I would start the day on a strong single blend, have an Earl Grey in the afternoon and a fresh green tea in the evening. Each to their own I reckon. Over the festive period I find my tea consumption reduced in favour of mulled wine, sloe gin and hot chocolate. Of course, I don’t start pouring gin over my cornflakes but you get the picture. In order to feel festive and start wading through the mountains of tea I have acquired over the last few months it was time to try making a Christmas tea.
First of all I tried the Yun Nan Dian Hong which is a golden tipped black tea. The colours of the leaves are wonderful; they look like autumn. I was really surprised at how dark the colour of the tea was considering the lightness of the leaves. It was really full bodied but refreshing at the same time and not at all bitter.
The next tea I tried was the Bi Luo Chun which is a green tea. It smelled so fresh, almost lemony and the leaves looked extremely dainty. It tasted like I would expect for a green tea but slightly more rounded and complex than some of the others I have tried.