Now I’m sure some of my readers will have tried gin made with tea leaves as one of the botanicals before. Whether it’s Half Hitch, which uses a tincture of black tea, or The Oliver Conquest’s own gin, which uses vacuum distilled tea as a botanical, there’s a lot of variation out there on how tea can be used. However The Teasmith gin brings a whole new level of class to using tea as a botanical in gin – read on to find out more!
*Full disclosure, this post was sponsored by The Teasmith, however all opinions remain my own*
The Teasmith story
The tale of Teasmith starts in a fairly unlikely place for tea, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. James Taylor, from Auchenblae in the North East of Scotland, was the first person to plant tea in Sri Lanka. Hence he was known as the ‘Father of Ceylon tea’. This inspired The Teasmith creators, Emma and Nick Smalley, to incorporate tea as one of their gin botanicals, to tap into the region’s history.
They spent a year developing The Teasmith gin recipe before coming up with the final product. They started by distilling the tea leaves separately, to work out the flavour profile and then set to work balancing this with other botanicals to get a rounded gin with spice, pine and citrus elements. This was done with the help of the team from Strathearn Distillery, where the gin is produced.
Teasmith use hand picked Golden Tippy Orange Pekoe from Sri Lanka as their key botanical. The hand picked and rolled tea means that the essential oils are preserved, adding to the flavour and the mouthfeel of the gin.
They also use the requisite juniper, classic coriander, dried orange peel, grains of paradise, honeyberry (similar to blueberries and a Scottish ingredient), liquorice root, orris root and angelica root.
Teasmith gin is a blend of three distillates: two vapour infusing all the botanicals, except the tea, in a 400l and 100l still respectively. Then a separate distillation for the tea leaves, which are first macerated in the 100l still. The three distillates are then blended together and left for several days to ‘mind-meld’*
(* not a technical term… basically what I mean is for the alcohol particles to distribute themselves evenly within the gin – the same process happens in bottle aged cocktails for example).
They then cut the gin down to it’s final abv of 43% with water for the final product.
The beautiful bottle
Both tea leaves and juniper berries are represented in the etching on their beautiful bottle:
This design is also used in the name on the label:
As a classic juniper forward gin this is the first thing you smell on the nose, but in a soft way. There are some sweeter floral notes in there also.
In the mouth I was immediately struck by how smooth and soft the gin is. This is probably due to the essential oils of the hand picked tea leaves. There is also some sweetness and warming spice in the flavour – from the liquorice root and spice from the tea, as well as the grains of paradise. The finish has slight minty / menthol notes.
With tonic these notes are highlighted, making a crisp, clean gin and tonic. This is why the suggested garnish is a sprig of mint.
A very easy drinking gin, even neat!
*NEWS FLASH* NEW TEASMITH GIN!
The Teasmith have come out with a new limited edition Broiche Single Estate gin. This gin is special as it’s made from tea grown in Scotland on the Broiche estate. It’s a lovely lighter flavour, with green notes juniper upfront and then honey and apple, followed up by spice at the end. This one is quite lovely to sip neat and would make an amazing martini! It also works well with a lighter tonic like Cushiedoos (which doesn’t contain quinine).
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Only 4 days to go til @international_scottish_gin_day! #isgd2019 – join in the countdown by posting your favourite Scottish gins! . Today I’m showcasing @the_teasmith Broiche limited edition [gifted] . Made with tea grown in Scotland ??????? YES YOU HEARD ME CORRECTLY THE TEA IS GROWN IN SCOTLAND – this expression of @the_teasmith gin is immediately softer and sweeter on the nose than the classic gin . On the palate you get green notes of juniper up front, honey and apple, followed by a bite of spice at the end. The tea is light and has a drying effect on the base but without upsetting the juniper and other botanicals – a great expression using Scottish ingredients at the fore! . This gin would work well in a martini ? or even a Bees Knees cocktail or just stick with a lighter tonic like @cushiedoos . ❓how would you drink it❓ . #whatskatiedoingblog #isgd #teasmithgin #teasmithbroichegin #ginwithtea #scottishingredients??????? #scottishgin??????? #scottishgin #theteasmithgin #internationalscottishginday #ginspiration #❤️gin #ginlush #gintasting #gintime #ginstagram #ginforthewin #ginformation #ginoclock #gintastic #whynotgin
How to drink
Perfect serve (or should that be suggested serve?)
There’s been much debate around whether a perfect serve really is ‘perfect’ these days – so it might be considered more a suggested serve! Teasmith call it their Classic Serve:
A sprig of mint, copious ice and a quality tonic
Now you can’t go wrong with that, can you?!
The mint brings out the green notes from the tea, however Gin Foundry also suggest garnishing with grapefruit, if you’d rather bring out the citrus notes. As I learnt recently in Edinburgh, pink grapefruit is a softer citrus than lemon or lime and so won’t overpower the flavours in the gin.
This inspired my ‘serve’ or cocktail:
My serve: the Scottish Collins
Having a picked up a bottle of the Pickering’s gin Pink Grapefruit and Lemongrass liqueur on my recent tour of their distillery, I was inspired to make a Collins.
Traditionally this cocktail would have been made with an Old Tom, sweeter style gin, however with the addition of the liqueur a sweet gin isn’t needed here.
- 45ml of The Teasmith Gin
- 30ml Pickering’s grapefruit liqueur (usually some sort of syrup would be used – but mix it up and try something different!)
- 30ml lemon juice (usually this is about half a lemon)
- Soda water to top up
Mix the ingredients together in a Collins glass with ice and top up with the soda water. I garnished with a smacked basil leaf as we had a lot of basil and it contrasted nicely; But you can use pink grapefruit too.
Just finished editing my pictures from @the_teasmith gin shoot this weekend – it’s a pretty looking bottle for sure! ? . Twitter competition and full review coming to the blog later this week (aka when I’ve written it), meanwhile take this tease of a Scottish Tom Collins using @the_teasmith gin and @pickeringsgin Grapefruit & Lemongrass gin liqueur ??? . #asseenonsundaybrunch #teasmithgin #scottishgin #scottishpremiumgin #premiumscottichgin #ginspiration #tomcollins #tomcollinscocktail #whatskatiedoingblog #pickeringsginliqueur #imbibegram #imbibe #instacocktail #happyhour #instadrinks #drinkstagram #womenwhodrink #spirits #spiritsblogger #drinkup #booze #feedfeed #reGinned #gin
I also tried The Teasmith gin in a martini. However I don’t think the flavours shined with the vermouth used (Dolin), or maybe it was just the proportions. This just means that I need to keep experimenting to find the best recipe!
Gin Foundry gin pitcher
As seen on Sunday Brunch! Olivier from The Gin Foundry recently showcased The Teasmith in his Gin Pitcher recipes on Sunday Brunch. Pitchers of cocktails are ideal for groups and for a bank holiday BBQ or brunch! Check out the recipe here:
The Ceylon Cooler. 25ml Lemon Juice, 25 honey water, 75 ml Gin, 25 ml tea, 100ml of Aromatic Tonic Water. Adjust to taste and garnish with rose and mint. pic.twitter.com/A4H68VToq0
— Olivier Ward (@theginblog) August 26, 2018
Where to buy
Hopefully I’ve now inspired (or should that be ginspired?) you to try The Teasmith gin.
You can buy The Teasmith gin directly from their website for £38.95, which includes post and packing costs. Else you can find them stocked online at Amazon and Master of Malt, who also have ‘dram sized’ samples so you can ‘try before you buy’ the bottle.
Be in with a chance to win a bottle of The Teasmith gin over on twitter:
Turn your Friday into FRIYAY! ?
— What’s Katie Doing? (@katiebhughes) August 31, 2018
Competition closes 7th September 2018, open to UK residents only and of course you must be over 18 to enter.