This month's Mixology Monday is hosted by Amelia over at Felicia's Speakeasy (hailing from Ithaca, NY, home of my alma mater.) This one's a bit of a challenge, but a challenge is good every now and then. Why's this one particularly tough? I'll let her elaborate:
The theme of August 10th’s Mixology Monday is “Vodka is Your Friend.” The recent high profile bashings of vodka interspersed with a few weak “yeah, buts…” left me wondering, is vodka the axis of evil, our most dangerous enemy? While it may not be the life of the party, experts agree: Vodka’s obituary does not have to be written just yet.
I couldn't agree more. That said, however, I must admit that I very rarely use vodka, since I prefer to focus on spirits with more...assertive flavor: your gins, your whiskies, your brandies, et cetera. I was at a loss over how to proceed, but my girlfriend Bari helped out quite a bit with this one. She's been drinking a lot of green tea lately as part of an effort to eat healthier (dear reader, I'm trying too, but that's a challenge in and of itself.) Inspired by some Trader Joe's Cranberry Green Tea that we enjoy, we took a trip to the health-food aisle of the grocery store, then played around with several different flavors and proportions before we came up with:
- 1 oz. Lillet Blanc
- 3/4 oz. green tea vodka
- 1/2 tsp. cranberry juice concentrate
- 2 tsp. agave nectar
When we were in the health-food aisle, we noticed some unsweetened cranberry juice concentrate that's very strong; the directions call for you to mix one part concentrate with five parts water and sweeten to taste. We also used agave nectar, which isn't as sweet as simple syrup. I made the green tea vodka by infusing four ounces of good vodka (I used Cape North) with two green-tea teabags for 15 minutes or so. (In retrospect, you probably don't need to use more than one teabag for this.)
The name for this drink was decidedly more difficult to come up with than the recipe was. We thought of -- and fortunately discarded -- some truly horrendous ones, such as the "L'il Cran-Teani", the "Jersey Lillet" (since we talked out the idea of green tea-infused vodka and cranberries while riding a bus on the New Jersey Turnpike), the "Don't Stop Tea-Leavin'", and (worst of all) the "Cranheim Tearoller." This was one of the few names we came up with that didn't make us cringe, and is a nod to the Japanese green tea and the very French Lillet.