Tonight I went to Sanctuary T in Soho for a mixology class. The bar/restaurant is known for its lengthy tea menu and now they’ve branched out to tea-infused cocktails, with manager East G. Lee leading the field. After I gushed so much about Pravda’s infused vodkas last week, booking this mixology class was a very happy coincidence.
We made five cocktails in total – four by East with different types of infused alcohol (vodka, rum, tequila, gin) and one designed by me. I thought that making my own would be daunting, but after four cocktails, some thorough teaching and a lot of encouragement from East, I was eager.
His were gorgeous. He started by showing me how to infuse vodka and it’s simple: Dump a few tablespoons of your tea – in this case Jasmine Silver Needle – and wait anywhere between ten minutes and 15 hours. Test every few hours for strength and you’re good to go. This was the same for all the tea-infused spirits throughout the evening.
We made: Jasmine Caiprioska (the Jasmine tea-infused vodka, lime and brown sugar), Oolong infused Gin (St Germain, Cointreau, dry Vermouth, Prosecco), Smokey Ginger Mojito (Lapsung Suchong infused Bacardi, ginger, lime, mint, ginger ale, Sprite, syrup) and Pina Stinger (Tequila, Pineapple Rooibus Tea Syrup, pineapple juice, cilantro, jalapeño).
Unfortunately this left me to drink them. I particularly loved the Ginger Mojito, a new creation by East which gave a smack of ginger followed by a lasting smokiness, and the Pina Stinger, a spicy pineapple juice which slipped down a treat.
Throughout, I learned some handy skills. I’d never used a cocktail shaker before so found out how to secure it, shake and release. I learned the pros and cons of mushing limes, and how to fashion a lemon twist for the side of the glass (and set it on fire). And most importantly, I learned the science behind the cocktails – noting citrus or floral flavours in the teas and which alcohols would boost or compliment them.
Then we reached mine. I opted for a peach and ginger green tea and we dunked the leaves in vodka and Bacardi. I preferred the vodka as it lifted the peach and then got thinking: Why not add more peach, prosecco and mint, for a new type of Bellini?
As it turned out, it wasn’t very good. It was very tart and earthy and totally lost the sweetness of the peaches. So East suggested mushed peaches and agave – and suddenly the drink tasted as I’d imagined. Yes, he helped a lot, but I was proud!
This was a fantastic evening and East was so much fun – and all those teas really elevated the cocktails. I’ll be going back.
Although from now on, who needs bars? Drinks at mine!