This isn’t your run off the mill gin, but rather a smooth ,fragrant infusion with Darjeeling tea often known as the Champagne of Teas. Tea and gin infusions have been trendy off late hence experimenting with a unique flavored tea seemed like a good idea and the results were definitely promising!
Darjeeling tea is characterized by a musky spiciness often known as “muscatel” as it resembles the flavor of muscat grapes used in wine-making. First introduced in the Himalayan hill town of Darjeeling in India by a British Civil Surgeon named Arthur Campbell the tea quickly grew in popularity due to it’s prized flavor. It is one of the most copied and faked teas in the world, with teams claiming to be as Darjeeling are nearly four times the actual production. The Tea Board of India has also protected the tea similar to Champagne and certain cheeses in E.U , a protection of origin status. Hence, any tea grown, produced , manufactured outside the tea gardens adjoining the Darjeeling region cannot be termed as Darjeeling tea, though nevertheless like Champagne you will find many teas claiming to be Darjeeling. Hence, it is essential to source your tea from a good and trusted vendor to maximize the goodness of it’s flavor in the gin.
For this infusion a basic gin without much aromatics should be used as the flavor of muscatel is rather prominent and you do not want other flavors clashing with it. Ideal gins for this purpose would be Beefeater, Bombay, Seagram’s London Dry , G&J Greenall’s and Broker’s, I have used Greenall’s for this particular version.
Fill a mason jar up-to three quarters with gin , add 4 tablespoons of loose leaf Darjeeling tea and let it sit for 4-5 hrs. Strain the tea leaves and your gin is ready to use.
You can simply add a splash of tonic or club soda and enjoy, or a nice Tom Collins garnished with mint and lemon. You can find my recipe for Tom Collins here at a previous post.