“I wanted to stick to things that pair well with the food,” says Nate McLemore Raczkowski. He’s mixing a cocktail behind the bar at Revival St. Paul, as plates of fried chicken, collard greens, and brisket go wafting by.
“I don’t drink coffee anymore. I drink a lot of Earl Grey tea in the morning. It’s a flavor I know well.” He also knows that sweet tea is basically a religion in the South, so he started dreaming of ways to incorporate that flavor into Revival’s first cocktail program. He realized that gin, with its already pungent botanical blend, could provide a nice canvas for the dusky tannin of a dark tea.
“Citadelle Gin is a more mellow gin, a little more coriander. It’s not super intense on the juniper, so it goes really nice with the tea,” he explains. “Cocchi di Torino has that nice burnt orange peel thing going on, and the Americano is lighter and herbal. And the Amaro makes the flavor of the Earl Grey smooth out a little bit.”
A tall glass of gin with some nice vermouths is a recipe for a world-class highball. And those Dashfire Lemon Bitters add the perfect high note (tea with lemon, naturally). If you don’t have vermouth and amaro on hand, Nate suggests using your tea-infused gin (see this month’s Spirits Close-Up: Infusions) in a simple Tom Collins with lemon juice, or mixed into a classic gimlet.
Late Tea Time
- 2 ounces Earl Grey-infused gin* (Citadelle)
- ½ ounce Cocchi di Torino
- ½ ounce Cocchi Americano
- ½ ounce Angostura Amaro
- 2 eyedroppers Dashfire Lemon Bitters
*Earl Grey Gin: Steep 1 tablespoon of loose leaf Earl Grey in 750 milliliters of gin for about 10 minutes, tasting frequently so it doesn’t turn bitter, and strain immediately.
Stir all ingredients briefly with ice and strain into a Collins glass with fresh ice. Top with club soda.