Friday, September 14, 2007

Cocktails with tea

Underneath a brown awning with just the letter “T” on it, Sanctuary Tea inconspicuously occupies a space sandwiched between two storefronts.

“We’re trying to maybe get a board or something outside to make it more noticeable,” said owner Dawn Cameron.

The food, created by Kevin Stanton, has some dishes with tea in it, the tea menu boasts several proprietary-blended teas, and mixologist Benoit Cornet has created several cocktails using the drink.

“It’s an unusual ingredient to mix with cocktails,” Cornet said. “Some teas in itself are usually not flavorful; it’s more about the aroma.”

Cornet also pointed out difficulties such as the presence of tannins or even sweetness in teas, so careful consideration is needed when deciding which teas were to be used with which spirits.

Cornet brews his teas for cocktails into concentrated shots with an espresso machine. Since tea does not last long once its made, the espresso machine creates a shot that’s “fairly concentrated and it’s instant.”

Or to get around brewing tea leaves Cornet uses powdered tea such as matcha.

Cornet said that there were currently 50 teas available at Sanctuary Tea so he’s considering creating more options, especially since he tries to use fresh and seasonal ingredients as well as herbs. Cornet said he might even try to develop a cocktail with truffle butter.

Backyard Treat
(Assam tea, white peach puree, Lambrusco)

Coral Reef
(tangerine green tea, passion fruit, triple sec liqueur, tequila, pink peppercorn rim)

Transcontinental Sunshine
(plum iced tea, Txakolina - a white wine from the Basque, vodka, guava puree)

(sour cherry, rum, lemon, soda)

(Earl Grey, gin, soda, lime)

Rise and Shine
(green tea, pear puree, vodka, lemon)

Mediterranean Bliss
(orange liqueur, white chocolate, cream, saffron)