The power of twitter is a force to be reckoned with, that has brought me followers and customers from across the globe and sparked connections with wonderful people from all walks of life, some of which I can now count as friends. One such connection is the very lovely @GreyFoxBlog who has long been a champion of British design and manufacture and who was instrumental in introducing me (once again through the medium of twitter) to the chaps at Harry Brompton's London Ice Tea. They appropriately met at the Best of Britannia 2013, a celebration of all that is great about British design, manufacture and produce, where friends, Philip Harding and Ian ODonohue, along with his father Martin, were keen to extoll the virtues of their premium, bottled, alcoholic ice tea. Whilst selflessly quaffing their delicious ice tea in the name of supporting British produce, Grey Fox recalled his dipsomaniac, tea loving, cocktail creating, glass painting, blogging friend (does that make me a 'renaissance woman'?) and decided we would be a perfect fit. How right he was...
Harry Brompton's is an incredibly well balanced drink that has all the rich flavour of black tea with citrus notes and a crisp astringency that stops short of woodiness and is tempered with the light effervescence of tiny bubbles that prickle the tongue in a tantalising manner. There is alcohol in there - I know because it says 4%abv on the bottle, but that little spike of grain spirit does nothing to mar the flavour making it not only highly quaffable, but a great mixer and cocktail ingredient.
In order to give a well balanced review, Mr TG and I thought it was important to try Harry Brompton's in it's natural form before diving headlong into the cocktails and can confirm that is incredibly refreshing served over ice with a wedge of lime (as seen at the top of the page) and can even be enjoyed straight from the chilled bottle with a citrus slice wedged in the neck - perfect for you young folks, out and about on the town.
My love of tea and cocktails and the combining of the two thereof, is well documented in this blog, so it was never going to be too much of a stretch to come up with some tasty beverages. Using Harry Brompton's meant I could create cocktails with tea without the prior infusion of spirits and reduced the need for additional sweeteners as it is already lightly sweetened.
To begin with, I decided to combine a great London gin with a great London tea in this delicately floral and crisp cocktail. Berkley Square Gin counts among it's botanicals; kaffir lime and lavender, both of which enhance the citrus and apple notes of the ice tea. To further reinforce those flavours, I added a little lavender syrup and some freshly squeezed lime.
Lavender in London
2 oz Berkley Square Gin
2 tsp lavender syrup
1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
Harry Brompton's Ice Tea
twist of lime zest to garnish
Add the gin, syrup and lime juice to a shaker with ice and shake briefly to combine and chill the ingredients.
Strain the liquid into an ice filled, chilled tumbler and top with Harry Brompton's Ice Tea.
Garnish with a twist of lime zest.
Next up is a fragrant, peachy delight that combines Sipsmith (another London stalwart) Barley Vodka , Cartron Creme de Peche de Vigne (from Bourgogne, slightly south of London, but available from Amathus Drinks) and Harry Brompton's London Ice Tea.
Brompton Peach Tea
1 oz Sipsmith Barley Vodka
1 oz Cartron Creme e Peche de Vigne
1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
Harry Brompton's Ice Tea
sprig of fresh mint to garnish
Add the vodka, creme de peche and lemon juice to a tumbler with ice and stir to combine and chill the ingredients - the outside of the glass should become frosted.
Add enough ice to fill the glass and top up with ice tea.
Gently slap the mint between the palms of your hands to release the essential oils and garnish the drink.
This next drink has a bit of a Moroccan influence, combining the flavours of rose, mint and lemon. Hendricks Gin is infused with rose and cucumber, making it the ideal spirit for this cocktail and the floral flavour is further enhanced with the addition of a little rosewater.
Harry in the Kasbah
2 oz Hendricks Gin
6 - 8 mint leaves
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 tsp rosewater
Harry Brompton Ice Tea
Muddle (gently squish) the mint with the gin and lemon in the bottom of a shaker.
Add ice and shake until the outside of the shake frosts over.
Strain into an ice filled tumbler or tea glass.
Add the rosewater and ice tea.
Stir to combine and garnish with mint.
This last cocktail is further proof that chilli infused Campari is an absolute must for every cocktail cabinet. The bittersweet combination of Campari and Triple Sec, combined with a chilli kick make this a tea with a twist.
Harry Brompton and the Goblet of Fire
1 oz chilli infused Campari
1/2 oz triple sec
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
Harry Brompton's Ice Tea
twist of lemon zest to garnish
Add the Campari, triple sec and lemon to a shaker with ice.
Shake to chill and strain into an ice filled tumbler.
Carefully top with ice tea to maintain the layers.
Garnish with a thick twist of lemon zest.
So, I hear you ask, 'where do I get myself some of this fabulous ice tea?'. Well, I am reliably informed that Waitrose will soon be stocking it and it is currently available in bars and restaurants across the UK. However, I highly recommend you visit their website to keep up to date with developments and to be in with a chance of winning yourself a crate of the stuff - click here to enter the competition