You never know how things are going to turn out. That’s just the truth. No matter how much you learn and analyze, there is just no accounting for that element of chance. That’s why we play the game, as they say. Last night, my son’s baseball team went from worst to first as they beat the number one seed in the first round of the championship. No one saw that coming, well, no one except a group of boys who believed in themselves. Tonight, they advance in the winner’s bracket, two games from winning it all. Maybe they will win, maybe they will lose, maybe it will rain. It doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, but it was nice to see the world turned upside down as the sun shined on them for a moment. I like that. I’m a big fan of unexpected wins. So, tonight we honor those who take a chance, and go against the odds as we stand and make the Earl Grey Sour.
To be fair, this one should have totally been one of my “teacup cocktails” but I did not think about that until just now, as I sat down to write. So, I’ll include an optional presentation when we get down to that section. This creation was inspired by my new found infatuation with the Italicus Bergamot Liqueur that we used recently in The Queen’s Steeple. It has a wonderfully light flavor that I cannot get enough of, which is no surprise since I love Earl Grey Tea and most things bergamot. I have been researching and playing with recipes for the last few weeks and you can expect more of these cocktails to come. Seriously, I just adore the stuff. I was surprised to find that I had not done a gin sour in the last year and a half of “cocktails from quarantine”, so it seems like a good time to rectify that. While looking for new ways to use Italicus I stumbled across the recipe for a Gin & Italicus Sour on Cocktails Distilled. It looked like heaven to me, but then I could not resist pushing it a little harder toward the tea end of the spectrum.
Grab your tins and pop in 1 ounce of gin, I chose one of my favorites that wonderful Spanish Gin Mare; 1 ounce of Italicus, 1 ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 3 drops of 18-21 Earl Grey Bitters and an egg white. Skip the ice and go for a dry shake to the beat of “Tea in The Sahara” for 30 seconds or so, before adding some artisanal ice and going again. When your tins are well chilled, strain into a Nick & Nora, or a vintage, teacup if you are feeling extra fancy and garnish with a pinch of loose Earl Grey tea.
That is wonderful. Seriously, one of the best drinks I have made of late. Everything comes together in this nearly perfectly balanced drink. The unique olive, rosemary, thyme and basil forward flavor profile of the Gin Mare, is the perfect carrier for the sweet, citrusy bergamot liqueur. The lemon juice brings a nice balance and brightness that is tempered by the sugar and the mouthfeel of the egg white. That’s when those earl grey bitters slip in to seal the deal, bringing balance to the force in a way Anakin could only dream of. I can see where it might fall down with a more aggressive gin, but I absolutely love this one as constructed. Don’t skimp on the garnish either, the aroma of the loose tea floating on the foam is wonderful. Plus, you can read your fortune in the tea leaves at the bottom of the glass, assuming you are, or know, a reputable tasseographer.
I will admit, that I had a pretty good idea where this drink was going to end up and that’s what I was excited to try it. I can also admit that it seems to fly in the face of my opening statement about uncertainty and chance. That’s cool, we can reconcile the two positions, easily. In the first case, I hoped that things would go well and believed in the kids in spite of previous experience. In the second, I hoped things would go well and believed in the ingredients because of my previous experience. In both cases, things worked out and that is kind of the whole point. No matter how much you have learned or studied, you’ve still got to get in the game to see how things turn out; and isn’t that wonderful? Socrates once said that “The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.” He went on to establish an entire school of thinking based around the concept that a frank acknowledgment of what you don’t know is the first step in truly understanding life. Makes sense, from a particular point of view. I like to think about Socrates and the rest of the gang lounging about, contemplating all the things they don’t yet know and if they ever will, as they sip on Earl Grey Sours in the shade. I feel confident they would, eventually, agree that in spite of all the things which can never be known for certain, this is a damned fine drink. Decidedly, better than hemlock at any rate. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.