This cocktail takes inspiration from British afternoon tea service. Concentrating the tea keeps the aromatics intact, despite the cocktail’s bold flavors. Try using a Highlands scotch with a mild amount of peat and smoke to complement the tea.
1 1/2 oz. scotch
3/4 oz. sweet condensed milk
1 1/2 oz. strong English breakfast tea (see below)
Tools: teapot, shaker, strainer
Garnish: smoked tea leaves (see below)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into an ice-filled glass and garnish.
To make strong tea, use twice as much tea as you normally would, but steep it for the same amount of time as normal hot tea—about 1 heaping Tbsp. of loose leaves for 8 oz. of water brewed to 160 degrees F, steeped for 4 minutes. Allow to cool completely before starting the cocktail. Leftover strong tea can be kept refrigerated in a sealed glass container for up to two days.
Smoked tea leaves can be purchased at specialty tea and gourmet shops. You can also smoke your own by placing tea leaves in a heatproof container elevated above smoking wood and/or coals in a barbecue.
Cory Hill, Eleven Madison Park, New York City