So, there’s a heatwave. Is it a heatwave if it lasts this long or is it just the weather? Every year, the newspapers blare out warnings of an incoming heat wave.
If it happens every year, it can’t be a freak occurrence. Look, I just Googled it:
“A prolonged period of abnormally hot weather.”
Last year was set to be the hottest on record, the year before that was too… I think. I’m writing recipes, not conducting research on global climate patterns.
Any way. As I write this, it’s half past 1 and it’s currently 17℃ (Yay! I found the button) here in Edinburgh. That’s pretty warm. It’s also a Tuesday.
The reason I’m giving you the lowdown on my surroundings is because this is the perfect temperature for a Gin and Tonic. However, it’s not the perfect time. People tend to judge you when you sit in your living room drinking cocktails while they’re at work. I think it’s just jealousy but I’m not in the mood to challenge it.
That’s why I made a non-alcoholic version of this classic summer drink.
After I wrote that blog post about warming Gin cocktails, the tea company I used for one of the cocktails, eteaket, contacted me and told me all about their latest addition to their wide and wonderful range of delicious teas.
A Gin tea
How does that work? You’re probably not asking, but I’m going to keep talking anyway. They have worked with Isle of Harris Gin and used the same botanicals they use to create an incredible blend.
As soon as they mentioned it, I literally dropped what I was doing and started walking to the shop. That isn’t hyperbole. I was sat on my phone, basking in the adoration that comes every time I post on Instagram because I am fuelled by the love of strangers nowadays.
I read the message, put my phone down and set off.
I swiftly returned, picked up my wallet and phone and set off properly.
I’ll write a review of the tea itself at some point because I’m veering wildly away from the point of this blog post.
Anyway, they made a delicious Gin tea. Click those words and it will direct you to their page where you can buy it yourself.
They also, very kindly, gave me some more tea. So I was there with two packs of delicious tea and my mind ran amok.
Have you ever heard of a Shrub?
Don’t be a clown. I don’t mean a small tree you snide git. I mean a cocktail shrub. These are acidulated beverages which are often used to give a sharp flavour to cocktails. They have been around for years, and they come from medicinal tinctures which were popular in the 15th Century.
They are experiencing somewhat of a resurgence in recent years in cocktail bars across the country due, in part to how easy they are to make as well as the degrees of customisation that is available every time you make them.
I, personally, love them. They give a really robust, acidic taste to cocktails which just makes your mouth water so you have to keep sipping.
I will say more on them in the future because I fully intend to make as many of these as I can.
My original plan, when making my shrub, was to use it in a cocktail of my own. I have since but, when I first tasted it, I pretty much wanted to drink it on it’s own. The sweetness of the honey makes it palatable, the sharpness of the lemon juice, white wine vinegar and orange peel and the herbal/floral notes from the rest of the ingredients make for one delicious drink.
So I grabbed some tonic water, filled my glass with ice and made myself a non-alcoholic Gin and Tonic. And it has been my summer drink (in between beers, cocktails and coffee) since then.
Ingredients for the Shrub:
50g eteaket, Isle of Harris Gin Tea
250ml Lemon Juice
250ml White Wine Vinegar
Fever-Tree Elderflower Tonic Water
- Make a simple honey syrup with… well it’s with the honey and water. Get the water warm enough for the honey to fully dissolve but not boiling
- Let that cool down
- In a sealable container (a fairly large one because that’s over 1l of ingredients up there) put in your tea, lemon juice and white wine vinegar
- Pour in your honey syrup
- Seal up your container, give it a shake and leave it somewhere dark and cool for at least 8 hours.
- Grab a glass, fill it with ice
- Half fill your glass with your shrub, you can strain it in if you don’t want the bits. But I like the bits
- Top it with tonic water (you can use any tonic water, really, but if you’ve put this amount of effort in so far you may as well go the whole hog)
- Lightly squeeze a slice of orange on top and sip away
So, what’s your favourite non-alcoholic tipple? Feel free to contact me on Instagram (@ljtstoney), Twitter (@myfoodventure) or through carrier pigeon. They still do those, right?