When it comes to Breakfast beverages, your options really are tea, juice, coffee or champagne. That’s if your not counting those smoothies you drink from a bowl to centre your chakras, but they’re not really drinks are they? More like vitamins and smug fresh out of the blender…
We’re certainly not advocating drinking in the morning. You have a job, probably a family, good prospects, and maybe kids. But if you do have to drink in the morning, especially first thing, it’s champagne or bust. If you ever filled out on a form that your preferred an Irish coffee or espresso martini, the people who took that survey would probably take you aside to make sure everything was ok and that your diet wasn’t exclusively liquid.
But champagne isn’t for everyone. And if you’re like most of us, with some sort of bizarre yet completely unfounded and incomprehensible disposition towards all things British (we’ve been separated from the Empire for a while now people, let it go), then tea could be your go to. But what booze does tea go with? Or perhaps the question you should ask yourself first is why isn’t tea mixed with booze more often?
Well, chemistry dictates that the tannin in the tea disappears when you distill it so you lose the key component of the flavour. Then it’s essentially just murky flavourless spirit which could have been made in your bathroom sink with foundation powder and vodka. On top of that if you want to add sweetness to tea, honey isn’t generally soluble in alcohol so you can’t blend it properly in booze.
All these swirling thoughts filled Settler’s Gin producer Rowland Short for close to twelve months as he pit his wit against the challenge of mixing tea and booze. He had a head start as his grape based Settler’s Gin is more aromatic and doesn’t create the same back of the mouth burn as your standard British Beefeater does if you have it neat. Tea and Gin was a recipe which he felt, if he could crack it, would be the quintessential breakfast beverage (again, not that we’re advocating drinking hard liquor in the morning, it’s more of an idea).
So like most back yard scientists, he just began experimenting. “It was a lot of fun,” Rowland laughs. “I wanted to create a drink that tastes like Gin, but smells like and takes on the tannin characteristics of Tea. It was a lot of mucking about but the basis was Earl Grey, with its beautiful bergamot hints, Adelaide Hills Blue Gum honey and fresh lemon. And we cracked it.”
We don’t know about you, but we’re standing up and applauding right now as we write this. Who doesn’t love hearing about success through trial and error? When it comes to making babies and making Tea infused Gin, the same can-do, trial and error determination should be applied.
Now, while the ‘Breakfast’ aspect is more a reflection of Rowand’s sense of humour, quite seriously the best time to drink this is at a High Tea. Neat, or over ice. At 43%, it’s quite potent, but the grape Gin ensures that the aromatic characteristics of the drink come to the fore. You can actually smell each individual component, in a sensory melting pot that probably trumps the pleasure one takes in smelling a bouquet of fresh flowers.
Straight isn’t for everyone, so a splash of dry Tonic water, garnished with a slice of lemon will simple help the aromatics, tea and honey flavours explode even more. The lasting taste in your mouth is the lovely drying tannins of Earl Grey Tea. Nailed it.
Don’t dilly dally. You need to get yourself onto this. Settler’s Breakfast Gin is now available online via the Settler’s Spirits website. To stay on top of all of Rowland’s hairbrain yet genius Gin ideas, be sure to follow them on Facebook or Instagram.