Micky’s cocktail cabinet: Tea-licious drinks for a cold evening

Photo - Rebecca James

Photo – Rebecca James

WE’RE well into February now and the weather is showing no signs of letting up. With everyone reaching for their kettles and their tea bags in an attempt to keep warm, it’s the perfect time to make some hot cocktails.

The first of these I’m going to recommend is Gunfire. Whilst the specifics of its origin are unclear, it is known to have been drunk by the British Army in the late 19th century. It’s a very straightforward recipe: place a bag of breakfast tea in a mug, brew in boiled water for four minutes and- then add one shot of dark rum (or alternatively, deviate from the classic recipe and use spiced rum). Depending on how sweet you take your tea, one or two teaspoons of sugar or honey is optional.

My second recommendation is Teaquila, which is predictably a mix of tea and tequila. Place a slice of lime and a breakfast tea bag in a mug and allow both to brew in boiled water for three minutes. Remove the tea bag and add one to two teaspoons of honey. Finally, add a shot of tequila, stir in and serve immediately. The lime and honey gives the tea a sweet and sour hint but the tequila stays firmly front and centre on the taste buds. This one can be enjoyed hot or cold, so it’s a recipe to remember for jugs of iced tea when the weather finally welcomes us outside.

Thirdly, a spin-off of a cocktail classic: G & Tea. Brew a bag of earl grey in a mug of boiled water for four minutes. Add the juice of a quarter of a lemon (approximately half a shot), a teaspoon of sugar and one and a half shots of gin. The sugar and the lemon help to offset the biting taste of the gin and the distinctiveness of earl grey without overpowering either, recreating a classic evening cocktail to be enjoyed in the warmth of home.

My final recommendation is an off-shoot of a method for preparing sake tea, which in the absence of an official name I’m dubbing Oriental Pixie Peach Tea. Trim the spiky stalks off of two lemon-grass shoots, place in mug and lightly bruise with a kitchen implement. Soak the shoots in boiled water for three minutes then add a bag of jasmine tea and soak for a further two minutes. Remove the shoots and bag and add one and a half shots of peach schnapps. Decorate with a fresh shoot of lemon-grass and serve immediately or allow to cool.

The end result is a drink that tastes how flowers smell: aromatic and perfumey. Green tea can be used in place of jasmine tea, and whilst I feel the peach schnapps provides enough sweetness, a teaspoon of sugar can be added for those sweetly-inclined. As an off-shoot of sake-tea, sake can also be used in place of peach schnapps, however I hesitate to recommend it when sake is so hard to obtain in Aberystwyth.