Earl Grey MarTEAni
Whenever I have drinks at Pegu Club, one of my favorite cocktail bars here in NYC, I always make it a point to try something new. Because I had a little extra time on my hands before a dinner reservation last night, I got to do just that.
Being a tea-drinker myself, I’m surprised I hadn’t yet gotten around to trying the Earl Grey MarTEAni; a creation of the very talented and renowned mixologist behind Pegu Club, Audrey Saunders. Fortunately my time in the dark has come to an end!
At first, this drink seemed a bit intimidating, as the key ingredient is Earl Grey-infused gin (not something one generally keeps lying around). But in truth, it’s really just a traditional Gin Sour, altered to create a unique and wonderful cocktail.
Here’s what you’ll need:
2oz Earl Grey-infused gin
1oz simple syrup
3/4oz lemon juice
1 egg white
First and foremost, don’t be turned off by the egg white. You’ll learn quickly that when making fine cocktails properly, eggs can be an essential ingredient. They go a long way to adding both texture and volume. When mixed with a citrus juice (in this case lemon) and when emulsified by being shaken vigorously, which helps create a nice foam, any possibility of bacterial trouble is pretty much wiped out.
To make the Earl Grey-infused gin simply add 1/4 cup of your favorite Earl Grey tea to 1 liter of high-proof gin (I used Tanqueray in this case, but you could certainly try others.) Shake the bottle well, and let steep for 2 hours at room temperature. Then simply strain out the tea with a fine strainer or filter, rinse out the bottle (to get rid of any remaining loose tea) and add the infusion back to the bottle. From what I’m told, this will keep well in the refrigerator for quite a long time.
Once you have your infusion, you’re ready to go.
Add all four ingredients to your Boston Shaker, fill with ice, seal up the shaker, and give it a good hard shake (remember to shake until the tin of your shaker is almost too cold to hold anymore; at least 10-15 seconds.) Then simply strain into a martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
If you want to get really fancy and replicate the way this is served at Pegu Club, you can serve it in a sugar-rimmed glass. Before straining your cocktail, just run a lemon wedge along the outside of the glass, and roll the outer-rim in a plate of fine granulated sugar. Then strain and garnish.
This is one of those cocktails that’s great for guests – it’s not only delicious, but it looks a lot harder than it is!
And certainly if you find yourself in New York City, make sure to treat yourself with a stop at the Pegu Club (77 W. Houston St., NY, NY 10013; peguclub.com). You will not regret it.
Update: I made this cocktail for some friends the other night, and some felt the lemon flavor was a little too strong. I reduced the lemon to 1/2oz, and they enjoyed it better. I think this is in large part related to the particular type of tea I used, which has a citrus flavor to it. The moral of the story is that recipes are simply templates, to be modified to suit your tastes. If you feel the lemon is too strong, just dial it down a bit. It’s okay to experiment!