Earl Grey Old Fashioned

Portrait of Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Today is Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey’s birthday, or at least it would have been had he not died in 1845.  Earl Grey was British Prime Minister from 1830 to 1834, and is credited with the creation of the tea that still bears his name.  While many stories circulate, it appears that Earl Grey was gifted some black tea flavoured with bergamot, and it made such an impression upon him that he called upon his local grocer, Jacksons of Picadilly, to reproduce the striking citrus flavour.  Sometime thereafter, due to its popularity, Twinings approached the Grey family and received their consent to market the tea more widely, and a classic infusion was born.

Following on from last week’s experiments in tea-infused vermouth then, this recipe is for an Earl Grey Old Fashioned, a perfect toast for the man himself, as the orange and cherry flavours of the classic old fashioned are beautifully offset by the hint of bergamot orange provided by the tea.  Proceed as follows:

  1. Infuse one teaspoon of loose leaf Earl Grey tea per 50ml of whiskey.  Leave for thirty minutes and then strain.
  2. Muddle one sugar cube, three splooshes of orange bitters, and some water in a rocks glass.
  3. Add a handful of ice and a large measure of Earl Grey-infused whiskey.
  4. Stir gently and garnish with a twist of orange peel.