I am back from my winter hiatus to post some Valentine’s miscellany. My friend Johan and I like to make multi-course dessert and cocktail menus for Valentine’s day. It’s bromantic. This year we have a series of four, and I swear I will post them all eventually. This is the second in the series, as the first needs a reshoot.
As you can see, this drink required equipment. The above is a siphon pot, an esoteric geeky device for brewing coffee. The bunsen burner heats the water in the lower chamber, which rises into the upper chamber, where it steeps with various reagents. The brewer then turns off the flame, and the water falls back into the lower chamber through a filter, leaving beautiful tea or coffee behind.
We caught it on film! Mild seizure warning. We ran into some technical issues with the timing of the flash, leaving us with a hideous flicker that feels like shrieking daemonic madness echoing from the tenebrous depths of the ultimate abyss. Steady your gaze and steel your will, dear reader, lest your mind should be consumed by an eldritch abomination.
In this case, I used the siphon pot to make tea out of blue pea flower and sweet osmanthus. The pea flower was mostly for color, the osmanthus for flavor. Pea flower, as you probably know, extracts into a brilliant indigo, and then, in the presence of acid, turns purple.
The trick with using pea flower in a cocktail is to make the imbiber of the dramatic transformation. If you just shake it up with your other ingredients, you get purple. What you want is blue, a theatrical transformation, and then purple. The siphon pot solves this problem handily, as it allows us to brew the hot toddy table-side, and in a way that draws attention to this beautiful chemical reaction.
This drink was designed to pair with a unique dessert designed by Johan, which he calls “Love in a Blooming Meadow”. We wanted to realize a fantasy motif in this dish, and I thought it would be fun to expand on that theme with my drink. The dish has liquorice yoghurt, matcha, cardamom cake, rose-scented meringue, and pistachio dacquoise.
To complement this, I chose hendrick’s gin and floral tea, and sweetened it with wildflower honey. In terms of ingredients this drink is relatively simple, but when it comes to warm drinks I often find simple is best. The delight of this drink is the rich color, the beautiful presentation, and the surprising juiciness of the flavor, despite a relatively small amount of juice.
600 ml hot water
100 ml lemon juice
4g blue peaflower tea
4g sweet osmanthus tea
1 oz Hendrick’s gin
.75 oz wildflower honey syrup
2 o.z Hot tea, as above
Brew the peaflower tea in the siphon part, starting with the peaflower alone. Once the blue color of pea flowers is fully extracted, add the osmanthus and lemon juice, stir, and steep for one minute. Kill the flame and allow the tea to settle in the bottom chamber of the siphon pot. In a teacup, measure out gin and honey syrup*. Pour the hot tea into the cup.
*To make honey syrup, choose a high quality wildflower honey, and mix equal parts of honey and water in a pot over low heat, until just combined.