|Meet sweet little Anne Marie - she's pretty, but she packs a PUNCH! - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
So what makes this gin so unique? Beefeater 24's tale explains that it took a full day -- hence the "24" in the name -- for the gin to acquire its distinctive flavors of Japanese Sencha and Chinese Green teas. They were steeped in the gin, releasing their aromatic botannicals before the spirit was finally distilled. This extra layer of flavors adds a more heady fragrance to the gin, and while it's fine with a bit of lime and tonic, the complexity works better with a variety of flavors, like different kinds of citrus and herbals like sage or rosemary. It still has that woodsy pine botannical typical of gin, but with the added teas, it makes the flavor more delicate and out of a lack of a better word, fancy. But not in a bad way. The bottle design reflects this dressy layer of fancy-ness, with its beautiful floral textures, the crimson-dyed bottom that reflects a dramatic red hue, and if you look very closely, you can find a raven holding a key, representing the old tale that when the ravens that roost in the Tower of London leave, the monarchy will fall. I won't tell you exactly where the raven is, but the photo can give you a hint...
|Feed the birds... tuppins a bag. See if you can find the birdy on your gin bottle! - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
I was given a list of cocktail recipes to try out and the English Breakfast seemed a befitting drink to christen the new bottle of gin. This requires a little bit of prep, as the gin needs to be infused with English Breakfast Tea before mixing the cocktail. I let a tea bag of English Breakfast -- basically a black tea -- cold steep in about a cup's worth of the Beefeater 24. I let it sit for about an hour, but I think if I were to do this again, I'd cut the time by half or dilute it with the un-infused gin, just so the tea wasn't too overpowering with the other flavors. It's got both the sweetness and citrus kick of orange marmalade, which made for a great drink ingredient, as long as you strain out the pulpy bits before serving. I opted not to do the egg white foam, mostly because I knew my arm would feel like falling off if I tried to shake it the way the pros do, to get that perfect, creamy foam finish. Curse my short, stubby arms!! But the cocktail was nicely balanced and serving it in a pretty teacup makes you feel like less of a lush having one of these before noon. Yes, I used way too big of a garnish, as I don't have a zester that produces the elegant curls, so apologies for the giant wedge!
1 3/4 oz English Breakfast Tea infused Beefeater 24
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz pasteurized egg white (optional)
1/4 oz sugar syrup
1 spoon of marmalade (about half a tablespoon)
Shake and strain into a chilled glass (either a tea cup or cocktail glass) and garnish with a zested orange peel.
|This ain't Earl Grey - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
As to the matter of the second drink, it's the lavender-dressed photo at the top of the post. It wasn't in the list of cocktail recipes to try, I put this one together myself with my own Wasabi hands. It took cues from the other recipes that infused the gin with tea. For this one, I infused the gin with some chamomile, a less heavy tea with a more light, flowery taste. Where the English Breakfast infused gin had more of a caramel color, the chamomile left the tea with a lemony amber hue. This cocktail is girlish and springtime-fresh, taking flavor cues from the chamomile with a dash of lavender infused simple syrup, and rounding it out with the sweetness of St. Germain's elderflower liqueur. As to the origin of the name, at the risk of being placed number one with a bullet on the Bad Influence list, it's named after the soon-to-be-born daughter of a good friend whose supply of lavender from her garden gives this drink its intensely floral notes. Good Parent of the Year I'll never be, naming a cocktail after a baby, but it's an ode to the babymama who appreciates all these flavors and provided the key ingredient for this drink.
Anne Marie Tea Blossom
1 1/2 oz chamomile infused Beefeater 24 gin
1 oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz lavender infused simple syrup
Shake and straing into a chilled cocktail glass, rimmed with superfine sugar and a light sprinkle of dried lavender buds to garnish.
|Enjoying a cuppa tea (and gin) with Beefeater 24 - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
Much Wasabi Thanks to Beefeater for letting me play mad mixologist in Wasabi Kitchen Stadium, and getting a chance to sample this lovely new spirit.