Last week, amongst the chaos of the UKs worst flooding for a decade, we were proud as punch to be a part of True North / The Old House November Gin School, showcasing the beauty of Sheffield Dry Gin & Tea.
A flood induced depleted line-up wasn’t enough to deter us and a great night was had, sampling 3 different Gin & Tea drinks, showcasing how tea can be used in different ways with gin; enjoying 2 beautifully matched high end plates of food and even flash-infusing our own tea gins.
The Old House’s gin expert, Callum, hosted the evening, introducing the gin making process, definitions, ingredients, botanicals and all-sorts more; Sheffield Dry Gin – who knew it was made with Henderson’s Relish instead of salt!? Well we do now. And you do if you’ve read this. And of course they did too, we suppose.
We then turned to tea, beginning with a brief intro to tea itself, then to us, before turning to the reason everyone was there: the drinks!
Tea as a Mixer
We started with a simple classic: Gin Iced Tea.
Using a classic iced tea as a mixer and foil to the Sheffield Dry Gin – Because of its well-balanced blend of botanicals and 43% ABV content, Sheffield Dry Gin works brilliantly as a base for mixing with a range of tonics, for infusing with tea or as a base with a variety of mixers – with an apple juice lightener and fresh blackberries for an extra dimension and to lift the dark fruit notes of the black tea.
Refreshing, light, bleedin’ fantastic. And you can use warm tea instead to create a blinding hot gin tea punch.
The first food course was served here. Stunning hake with bergamot & coriander crumb and prosecco sauce. Ahhhhhhhh. So good. The chef is a legend.
Tea Infused Gin & Tonic
We then moved up a notch, to tea infused gin. We spent some time in the build up to the event having a LOT of fun experimenting with infusing different teas into Sheffield Dry Gin and trying them with various tonics.
We settled on a pretty spectacular combination of Phoenix Mountain Black Tea infused gin with Franklin & Sons Natural Light Tonic Water.
The infused gin is so easy to make. Just weigh out 25g tea per litre of gin being infused and either drop them into the gin bottle or put them in a Pyrex jug / glass jar and pour the gin on top. Stir and leave for 24 hours. Then either drain the gin away from the leaves or just leave them in if you’re going to drink fairly soon. Easy.
First, sip the gin over ice. Phoenix Black tea is known for it’s intense tropical notes – mango, lychee, grapefruit – which work perfectly with the gin.
Then add the tonic to see how the tea compliments the gin with the tonic bitterness added. Sheffield Dry Gin is noted as having grapefruit afternotes, which works even better with the phoenix Tea.
Then add a slice of cucumber garnish to see how the cucumber aroma and fresh flavour alters the drink again.
The 3 ingredients work perfectly to create a full flavoured yet refreshing drink, rich with tea whilst complementing rather than overpowering the gin.
It’s worth noting the use of light, or diet / slimline tonic rather than full Indian tonic as the latter generally results in a far too bitter drink.