What better way to start off a blog about Booze and Tea then a cocktail that incorporate the two of them together? Or tries to, at least.

But let’s start at the beginning…

For those who don’t know, your basic Sidecar is as follows:

Sidecar:

2oz Brandy (Or, my preference, Cognac – But whatever works for you)

1oz Cointreau (Or Orange Liqueur of choice)

1oz Lemon Juice (Freshly squeezed, naturally)

Shake, strain, serve straight up.

Now, you can vary the proportions to suit your tastes – This is what I prefer, but you can always play with it till you find the balance that works for you. These proportions will give you a fairly strong, fairly sour drink.  I wanted to riff off it by adding some sort of tea, either infused in water or infused in the Cognac, but I knew it would need to be fairly assertive to be noticed. This is no place for a mild white. That was when I recalled the only other real Tea-flavored cocktail I’d ever had before: The Earl Grey MarTEAni, an invention of Audrey Saunders of Pegu Club (http://www.peguclub.com). Yes, Earl Grey would do nicely. The citrus-y bergamot would probably work well amongst the other flavors in a Sidecar.

So, I took 2oz of Cognac, added about 1.5tsp of loose leaf Earl Grey and let it infuse for about an hour and a half. Now, there are tea fanatics looking at those numbers and going ‘Are you out of your mind?!’, but just trust me on this one – It doesn’t infuse as quickly as you’d think. It’s cold, remember, and the bitterness of the tannins tends to get lost in the sweetness of the Cointreau. That being said, the bergamot *will* kick you in the pants when you sip this, so feel free to scale back the infusion time if you like.

As such, I give you:

The Grey Sidecar
2oz Earl Grey Infused Brandy
1oz Cointreau
1oz Lemon

(If you want it to be *really* good, toss in an egg white and dry shake it before you add ice. Mmmm…)

Shake, strain, serve straight up. Garnish with a lemon twist, flamed orange zest, whatever works for you.

One thing I didn’t anticipate (Although in retrospect I should have) is that the tea also imparted some colour to the Cognac. My drink ended up a lovely deep orange, much darker than my usual sidecar. It tastes…well, pretty much how you’d expect it to taste. The Cognac is there, melding with the lemon and orange in the usual marvelous way. Most of the tea flavour comes with the finish, that (At this length of infusion) has a health amount of tannins which leaves your mouth feeling pretty dry. Still, I enjoyed it – Your tastes may vary. I’m tempted to scale back the lemon to .75 oz and maybe bump the Cointreau a bit, but that’s for another day.

Cheers

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