The past week has been pretty packed with work on the house; Jeremy and I refinished the hardwood floors of the second story last weekend and I've been plastering the bedroom for the past few days. It's a long process, but the results have been really encouraging so far so I'm plugging along to get it all done before the end of the month. I did have a nice break in the remodeling schedule, though, when Zoe from the local Steven Smith Tea Maker came by and we got to hang out and experiment with the tea-flavored vodkas I'd been infusing. The process to infuse them was really simple, I just used a ratio of 2 tablespoons dried loose leaf tea (about 3 tea bags) to 12 ounces of vodka, sealed them together in an airtight container, and let them sit on the kitchen counter for a week, shaking it once every day or two. In true food nerd form, I made three separate infusions with three different teas to experiment with the blending options later on.
I used Steven Smith Teamaker No. 47 Bungalow tea, No. 67 Meadow tea, and No. 24 Big Hibiscus in my boozy tea experiment. The Bungalow tea is composed of Darjeeling, which gives it a nutty, roasted flavor with a hint of florals and fruit; while the Meadow tea has more of an herbal-vibe with rooibos, chamomile, rose petals, and linden flowers. The Big Hibiscus, as you'd imagine, has hibiscus in it, but it also contains sarsaparilla, rose, and elderflower, giving it an intensely tangy, bright, and floral taste. All the infusions were very different tasting from one another, but all super tasty in their own way, too. I had a roasted stone fruit punch in mind for the cocktail, and after mixing it with each of the three infusions my favorite one ended up being the Bungalow tea. Something about the toasty buttery Darjeeling really complimented the sweet, tangy roasted stone fruit flavors in a crazy good way. The Big Hibiscus was great in it too, but the flavor notes were really similar to the fruits and I liked the contrast that the Bungalow contributed more.
But the awesome thing about the below recipe is that it is completely customizable (along with being really easy to make). For the punch, you combine all the ingredients the night before and let them sit in a refrigerated pitcher overnight, which is great for summer entertaining because you don't have to worry about mixing drinks as guests arrive and can still offer them something tastier and more personal than a can of beer when they get there. As for adding a personalized touch, you can use whatever kind of tea you'd like for the general tea-infused vodka recipe, and if you want to change up the fruits to compliment the flavors of your chosen tea, feel free. I think their No. 97 Jasmine Silver Tip mixed with roasted strawberries or raspberries would make for an *outstanding* punch. Or the Meadow tea with ginger and lemon, or the Big hibiscus tea with vanilla bean and cherries...well, there's a lot of options out there. The world's your tea-infused oyster :)
Tea Infused Vodka
2 tablespoons loose leaf or 3 tea bags Steven Smith Teamaker tea
12 ounces vodka
- 12 ounces vodka
- 2 apricots, pitted and cut in half
- 2 nectarines, pitted and cut in half
- 8 cherries, pitted and cut in half
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 24 ounces apricot nectar
- 3 sprigs fresh mint