For the past few weeks, the test kitchen at my office has been concocting simple syrups. Witnessing us clustered around jelly jars with spoons full of syrup, one coworker laughingly referred to the tasting as a “hummingbird convention.” There were winners and a few that were deemed “not ready for prime time.” These sweet little reject jars were given good homes, taken away to be used in our own kitchens. Among my selections was a ginger, lemon, mint syrup. This sweet, tart, herbal combination had me thinking about tea. Though, to be honest, I was probably influenced by the inspired Tea Foodie, who spends half the week talking food and creating in the test kitchen.
A while back, my best friend had invited me to attend the pop-up dinner of a talented chef, Jenna. (You can read Jenna’s musings here.) Drinks were paired with each course, inspired by her global travels. The dessert was a Moroccan pastry with a drink pairing that was so distinctive and unique that it has stuck with me. It was an amazing mint tea cocktail (the ingredients of which I, unfortunately, have no recollection).
So back to the ginger, lemon, mint syrup…
I figured green tea would be a perfect canvas for the syrup, complementing each of the ingredients. I had initially pictured vodka as a good alcohol with no competing flavor. But, when I started to make it, I realized that we didn’t have vodka and I used gin. Of course! The pungent, herbal flavor of gin was a perfect addition. The drink was good cold, over ice, but when it started snowing last weekend I started thinking about hot drinks. The resulting gem of all of these crazy inspirations was a hot tea toddy. I don’t know if it has any tangible medicinal properties, but I think this sweet, lemony cup will perk anyone up!
2 green tea bags (plain, nothing fancy for this one)
8 ounces boiling water
1 ounce gin
1 ounce ginger, lemon, mint simple syrup*
Optional: sprig of fresh mint
*UPDATE: Recipe below.
Steep tea bags in boiling water for about 3 minutes, you’ll want it pretty strong. Remove tea bags, add gin and simple syrup. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig and enjoy!