A new year has begun and after the holidays are over it's time to relax for a bit. Drinking some tea to unwind, I thought it would be nice to enjoy this taste in a cocktail. So I came up with a quick recipe for a Sencha Simple Syrup which I could use in my cocktails.
I wrote about using green tea in the past, but as these cocktails have all used matcha they have quite the different flavor. Since I really liked my other tea syrups and had the idea for a green tea syrup for some time, I thought it was the perfect time to try something new.
Make Some Tea
Green tea is delicious. It's also easy and fast to make. And there is such a wide variety of different green teas, that it never gets boring. Unlike a strong black tea like Earl Grey, most green teas are subtle in their aroma. Which means green tea will never have a dominating part in a cocktail as it is overpowered rather easily.
Preparing a green tea syrup is as easy as making a cup of tea. Start by making some tea and add the same amount of sugar to it while it's still hot. Nevertheless I included the recipe below.
Add the water and tea to a pan, heat gently and let it steep for one or two minutes. Don't let the water get too hot or the tea will become bitter. Strain out the tea leaves and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar has fully dissolved. Fill into a clean bottle and let it cool lying down. You can add a splash of vodka so it keeps longer.
With this syrup you can do some pretty nice things. Adding a splash to a Gin and Tonic gives this classic drink a fresh twist. I tried different combinations and found that it pairs well with light spirits which don't have too bold a flavor. Something fresh and vibrant, like a soft tequila works. Most gins will also go great together with green tea, so this is what I'm going with.
After deciding on gin as the base spirit for my sencha syrup, I pondered what else would harmonize with those flavors. Sencha is rather soft and dominated easily, so I knew I couldn't add lots of ingredients. Therefore I decided to just add the spice of the cocktail world: a bitter. I found the resulting cocktail quite delicious.
Pour the gin, syrup and bitters into a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir for 20 to 30 seconds and strain into a pre-chilled Martini glass.
Due to the syrup this cocktail is slightly sweet and the Hendrick's gin provides lots of floral botanicals. After that you can taste the juniper with subtle hints of orange and the grassy green tea. If I had to describe this cocktail I would say gentle but firm. The gin gets highlighted well, but the tea, bitters and sweetness are there to keep it from dominating the cocktail too much.
Of course this cocktail strongly depends on the kind of tea you use in your syrup. I used Japanese Sencha Makoto which is mild so the flavor doesn't come out too strong. I didn't use any garnish as this would just distract from all the subtle flavors.
Some Final Thoughts
This syrup isn't as versatile as I thought it would be. The mild and delicate flavor is pretty easily overpowered by a strong spirit and if you add too much syrup your cocktail will become way too sweet. Gin however is a nice partner for it. Of course mixing it with vodka is possible as well and I imagine a Vodka Tonic with this syrup will taste quite delicious. I have to experiment further and see where I can take it.
Well that's all for now. I decided to take it easy for the first week of the new year and I look forward to an interesting year full of experiments, cocktails and fun. Next week will be about ice again. Follow me on Twitter or subscribe to be notified of the next cool article.
Title image via pixabay.