From Tea To Gin: Afternoon Tea WeekAugust 11th, 2021
In honour of one of Britain’s favourite past-times, we’re taking a closer look at the ritual of afternoon tea and how that’s inspired gin based infusions of the nation’s go-to drink so sit back, grab a cuppa and read on…
A quintessential tradition since the 1840s, afternoon tea was popularised by Anna Maria Russell, Duchess of Bedford after she would fill her mid-afternoon hunger pangs with a selection of sweet and savoury snacks along with a pot of hot tea.
Created to fill the gap between lunch and dinner when it was commonplace to serve dinner after 8 pm, soon enough all of fashionable society was partaking in this new-found practice.
Britain’s best-known elites were known for indulging in afternoon tea whilst middle and lower classes enjoyed ‘high tea’; a post-work meal served with a pot of hot tea and a hearty meal, in a newly industrialised Britain.
Upon hearing about this new ritual, Queen Victoria instantly adopted it and was hosting official afternoon tea receptions in the royal palaces by the 1880s.
From Tea to Gin…
Empress 1908 Gin was inspired by the renowned afternoon tea offering at the iconic and historic Empress Hotel in Victoria, Canada.
Award-winning Empress Gin is distilled in small batch copper-pot stills at Victoria Distillers and hand-crafted using a combination of traditional and contemporary botanicals to create a one-of-a-kind cocktail experience.
Victoria Distillers is one of Canada’s oldest small-batch and artisan distilleries. The distillery uses a geothermal system that recaptures the heat from the distilling process and delivers it to a neighbouring hotel; heating the rooms, reducing their carbon footprint and reducing water waste.
There are eight carefully sourced and selected botanicals that go into Empress 1908 Gin – so, let’s take a closer look at these exquisite ingredients…
No.1: Butterfly Pea Blossom
Firstly, butterfly pea blossom is added. This flower was chosen for its warm, herbal earthiness, and the softness it contributes to the texture. It plays a flavour role similar to that of angelica in other gins. This botanical is also responsible for the gin’s unique colour.
No.2: Fairmont Empress Tea
The signature tea at the Empress Hotel, this blend is a selection of seasonal, quality teas from Assam, Kenya, South India, Ceylon, and China, created exclusively by the Metropolitan Tea Company. Simultaneously floral, fruity and oaky; it’s one of the finest blends in the world.
The classic taste found in most gins, juniper provides a complex flavour with notes of pine and citrus. And while London Dry Gins like a big juniper burst, the Pacific Northwest style gin uses a subtle varietal that isn’t too pushy, and balances nicely with the other less traditional botanicals.
No.4: Grapefruit Peel
While lemon and orange are fairly traditional gin botanicals, grapefruit is added to Empress 1908. Grapefruit has a unique citrus flavour that’s both slightly bitter and suggestively sweet. It provides an aromatic, lively bright note that pairs extremely well with tonic.
No.5: Coriander Seed
A traditional gin botanical, coriander has hints of nut and spice that brings a certain amount of warmth to the palette. Empress 1908’s coriander is sourced from India and is more citrusy than is typically used in gins. This plays off other citrus elements in the liquid to round out the flavour.
No.6: Cinnamon Bark
A more contemporary element of Empress 1908 Gin, the essential oil from cinnamon bark provides a warm, spicy note that serves as a complement to the citrus and floral components, and works with ginger to provide an all-round, full spice element.
No.7: Rose Petal
A traditional element, the sweet flavour of rose contributes to the softness and warmth of Empress 1908 Gin, providing a nuance that balances out the spices with an elegant floral note. The whole rosebud is used and is sourced from India.
No.8: Ginger Root
Ginger is incredibly aromatic, with a peppery, slightly lemony flavour. Fragrant and spicy, ginger is another component in the balancing act of botanicals that gives Empress its unique flavour profile.
|Tradition with a Twist:
Empress 1908 Cocktails
Empress and Tonic
· 60ml Empress 1908 Gin
· 90ml Premium Tonic Water
· Slice of Grapefruit
A signature cocktail, simply builds on ice in a rocks glass. Stir well and garnish with a grapefruit slice.
· 60ml Empress 1908 Gin
· 15ml Fresh Lemon Juice
· 15ml Simple Syrup
· Basil, Thyme and Mint Leaves
Shake ingredients on ice, strain into a stemless wine glass with ice. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
Other tea-inspired drinks that are a perfect pairing with your afternoon tea: