I, like many people fond of making a drink, spent much of my summer holiday making up refreshing beverages to speed and soften those long lackadaisical hours.
One of the standouts was this punch, a icy and refreshing mix of Earl Grey infused gin, oleo saccharine, citrus and cheap, citrusy, potable bubbles that Australia does so well. Finish things off with a tray of well iced glasses, sitting on a folded teatowel and garnished with abundant local herbs and I reckon you’re onto a winner.
Antipodean Afternoon Tea‡
750mls Cheap Australian Methode (I used Wolf Blass Eaglehawk) 500mls Earl Grey Infused South Gin, 300mls Oleo Saccharine syrup, and 150mls freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Combine Gin, syrup and lemon juice over ice in the largest jug you have. You can pop the bubbles and add it at the table for a kitsch treat (or get out your sabre, should you be so inclined to the dramatic) stir and serve, leaving the jug out of the sun, as to not unnecessarily speed dilution.
Earl Grey Infused Gin:
I like South Gin, because it is quite lightly floral and goes very well with the Earl Grey Tea. It may however be very difficult to find as production seems to be being scaled back, although at NZ$28 in duty free, it is now quite the bargain. I generally place the bottle in a warm water filled sink for twenty minutes to bring the temperature up a little, then add the gin to four earl grey teabags, stirring occasionally for around ten minutes. After too long it turns very bitter, so maybe taste as you go along. Remove the teabags and pour it back into the bottle, any excess can be used later as it will not go off.
Oleo Saccharine Syrup:
Measure out 500gs of sugar into a bowl. Peel five or six lemons (keep the lemons to juice for the punch,) and give the peel a rough chop. combine he peel and sugar, cover and leave someplace warm, outside in the sun works well. Leave for a few hours, until the sugar is permeated with lemon oils. Add 250 mls warm water and stir until fully dissolved, strain out the peel and bottle, it will keep in a fridge for a few weeks and works well in most drinks that call for sugar and citrus, adding a depth of flavour you won’t get from the juice alone.
‡ May be consumed for Morning Tea or Lunch, should the need arise.