Sunday, 22 April 2012

Event: Tea Cocktails at Eteaket

There are two drinks which I am not sure that I could do without. I love tea. I love gin. The thought of combining the two set me off into a spiral of excitement and glee, and that's pretty much why I ended up in the front row at Eteaket's inaugral Tea Cocktails masterclass.

We arrived, and headed round to the back of the shop, where teacups and instruction sheets were laid out for us...
The sheets were really useful - they outlined the cocktails we'd sample, how to recreate them at home, and three ways of getting the taste of tea into a drink (infusing in alcohol, making a flavoured syrup, and using an 'iced' tea). It was a small touch, but a good idea - no need to scribble down notes - the emphasis was on enjoying ourselves.

Our tutor, the lovely Scott* introduced himself and told us a bit about how he got interested in cocktails. He explained how the list works - starting with the 'easiest' to drink, and working back through time to explore a couple of other classic cocktails. One of the lovely ladies from Eteaket was also on hand to tell us more about the teas - together they made a great team.

We started with a tiki-style Rum Punch - a classic 1970s cocktail combining Rum and fruit juices with a chilled Oolong. It was delicious.
Next up came an Earl Grey Aviation. Scott explained that this classic cocktail uses lemon juice to match with gin - as Earl Grey is a citrussy tea, the bergamot and citrus flavours are a natural combination. He also told us how to infuse our own gin (basically empty it into a jug, pop in a couple of teaspoons of leaves, and strain into the bottle after 10-20 minutes/according to taste) and suggested that people might like to try other infusions too. His suggestions of how to infuse Vanilla (split and de-seed a couple of vanilla pods, and leave overnight before straining) went down particularly well.
And finally we sampled a Lapsang Souchong Manhattan. I'm not normally a fan of Lapsang, it's too smoky and overpowering for my taste (i.e. it overpowers the cake), but matching it with a Bourbon whiskey is perfect - it recreates the smoky taste of a particularly fine smoky single malt. The Manhattan was the strongest of the cocktails we tasted, with the Bourbon mixed with sweet vermouth and bitters. It was a good finish to the evening.
If you're a fan of cocktails, tea or both - I'd highly recommend heading along to a masterclass next time they're on. It was great fun, we sampled more than we should have on an empty stomach, and I learnt a lot. I'm looking forward to having a crack at my own Earl Grey infusion, and experimenting with fresh lemonade.

Tea Cocktails tickets were £5 pp, for a 90 minute masterclass.

41 Frederick Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1EP

Scott is a bartender at The Queens Arms
49 Frederick Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1EP

*I should probably declare that I know Scott, and can testify that he makes one of the best gin Martini's in Edinburgh - but that I didn't know he'd be running the Eteaket course!


  1. I'd really love to do something like this. I love the selection of tea at Eateaket, so I can only imagine how the cocktails are!

    1. It was great - really fun. They do a non-alcoholic tea tasting too, which I want to try!

  2. Hi, just to let you know we have another tea cocktail night on the 19th of July from 6pm.