I have not been a fan of green tea for all that long. I remember the first time I drank it. I was in fourth grade (I think, maybe third or fifth), at a friend‘s house whose mother is Japanese. This was before Arizona Green Tea, which is basically green tea flavored sugar water. They had the real deal, and I was not impressed. I thought it tasted like seaweed and I didn’t touch the stuff again until I was a junior in high school, and it was Arizona Green Tea.
These days, however, I’m a class A tea snob. I bring my own when I travel. Even when I go to my parent’s house – I bring my own tea because they buy Celestial Seasonings. And I don’t sweeten it very much, even when it’s iced tea. A sugared rim is necessary, though. This vodka is light, crisp, and only a hint sweet. For a perfect summer cocktail, shake it with ice and add just a splash of tonic water.
If you’re a plan ahead-type of gift giver, this makes for a great surprise, especially when paired with some nice stemware. If you’re a last-minute gifter, you could also gather up all the non-perishable ingredients and throw them in a bag with the recipe. They both go over equally well.
Green Tea Infused Vodka with Honey Lemon Cordial
1 L of vodka of your choice*
5 green tea bags, or 5 tbsp loose leaf tea, preferably in a bag, if not strain it out
1 Lemon, sliced
½ c honey
½ c water
You will need a jar big enough to hold the entire liter of vodka, plus one cup.
- Empty vodka into a clean jar and place tea bags inside and cover the jar. If your tea bags have strings, make sure you cut them off. Allow to steep for no more than 12 hours, shaking periodically. Any longer and you will end up with a bitter infusion.
- Remove tea bags and place sliced lemon in the vodka, capping the jar. Place in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks, shaking perdiodically.
- At the end of the 2 weeks, remove the lemons with a slotted spoon.
- In a saucepan, combine the honey and water and heat gently over medium heat, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Once the honey mixture is cool, pour into the vodka, recap and shake vigorously.
- Uncap and strain infusion into a swing-top bottle. At this point, it can be imbibed immediately, or allowed to infuse longer. The longer it sits, the sweeter it will be.
To serve, rub the rim of a glass with a lemon slice. Gently place the rim of the glass in a dish of sugar. I used matcha sugar, made using 1 tsp of matcha powder & 1 tbsp of sugar. Shake infusion with ice and strain into glass.
*A note about the quality of vodka you should use. Some insist that cheap vodka is appropriate because the sugar in the cordial negates the bad taste. I respectfully disagree. I have used everything from $55 bottles to $10 bottles, and I have landed smack in the middle with Tito’s, priced about $25 per liter bottle, though it is most likely cheaper in places that are not in NYC. It tastes better than most $55 bottles, and is only slightly more than Smirnoff, which tastes terrible.
To be enjoyed outdoors, in the shade, on a day that (hopefully) is not too hot.
Also, I’m on tumblr now. Bakingforneighbors.tumblr.com will be a shorter microblog – more photos, less text. Recipes will be linked here, but you will also get to see things I make that I don’t post.