World Gourmet Festival 2012 – Robert Schinkel : Award-winning bartender, mixologist & Dilmah’s ambassador

After the World Gourmet Buffet Lunch (see the spread HERE) the session was the Robert Schinkel World Gourmet Afternoon Tea Mixology by Dilmah.

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Robert Schinkel is an award-winning bartender, mixologist & Dilmah’s ambassador on tea mixology for the last five years. He has been presenting this new trend in the world of cocktails throughout the world with innovative recipes, both with and without alcohol, and his skill to create signature drinks for persons, occasions or properties.

For this post, I’ll be sharing a lot of his notes about tea and tea mixology so feel free to skip the words if they bore you. 🙂

Tea & Mixology

Mixology, or the creation of the cocktail, is the fine art of mixing drinks. Recently recognized as being the first true American art form, mixology has a history that goes back to the 1800’s. The term cocktail was first described in the beginning of the 19th century as “a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters.”
Although this first definition is nowadays a bit poor in description since today’s cocktail bartenders use an infinite range of ingredients, it shows in one sentence the endless possibilities of tea as a cocktail ingredient.
In this definition water” is easily replaced by “tea”, and for every recipe there’s a different tea that will complete, uplift or at least pleasantly alter your cocktail. The next recipes will show you the first steps in creating and recreating your own Dilmah tea cocktail.

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Using tea in cocktails
Tea can be used in cocktails in several different ways. You can use it in a hot or a cold drink, fresh brewed or pre‐chilled, you can use the infusion or just infused leaves, you can even use it as a syrup or as a bitter.
Every method will have it’s own effect on your drink. But more important than the method is obviously the tea you choose. All teas and herbal infusions can be used in cocktails.

Depending on the other ingredients in your drink you choose your type of tea. Light tea’s tend to blend well with light spirits ( Jasmine green tea and gin, or Ceylon Silvertips and vodka) while heavier tea’s find great companions amongst dark spirits (Ceylon Souchon and whisky, or Ceylon Supreme and cognac).
These are just guidelines, mixology is all about experimenting en finding out what works best for you. But before you can use the tea in your cocktail, you’ll have to brew the tea, and before you can brew the tea, you’ll have to make a few choices regarding your drink.

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Hot or cold?
Although most cocktails are served cold, there are also a few cocktails served hot. Famous drinks like the Blue Blazer and the Hot Toddy are typical winter cocktails to warm you up on a cold evening or to finish up a nice dinner. The original recipes date back to the 1800’s and were made with hot or boiling water. Again it’s only a small step from boiling water to tea, so it’s quite understandable that tea‐inspired Blazers and Toddies found it’s way to the bartenders.

The tea of choice for these type of cocktails is often a black tea. Drinking dark spirits at a higher temperature will bring out more flavour, and black tea has the power to create a gentle balance between the tea, the spirit, the sugar and the spices.

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Outside wintertime cocktails are usually served cold. Martini’s, Margarita’s, Fizz’s and Collins’ are famous cocktail families that have been responsible for many delicious variations and the combinations with tea seem to be endless as well. Black tea, Oolong tea and green tea are all very suitable for a great range of cocktails. In general black tea can be mixed with almost every kind of spirit, while green tea should mainly be used with white spirits like gin, vodka or tequila.
The delicacy of green tea is easily overpowered by a dark spirit, but for instance a quality vodka can really bring out the characteristics of the tea.

Fresh brewed or pre‐chilled?

Using hot black tea for a cold drink might sounds strange, but fresh brewed tea will cool down very fast in an ice‐filled cocktail shaker. Even when the drink is built and stirred in a regular glass the ice cubes and the diluted water make sure the temperature of the tea drops quickly. Because of the diluted water this method needs a strong brewed tea to still keep a strong flavour. For the same reason green tea’s are often less suitable for this method than black tea’s.
It’s an effective way to create an instant iced tea, but if you want to create tea cocktails for a group or party I recommend you pre‐chill your teas. Pre‐chilling means no more than brewing a fresh pot of tea and chilling it in
the fridge. This tea can be less strong than the tea used in the “fresh brewed method” since there will be no extra water added through dilution.

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Infusion or infused leaves?

Everything described earlier is about using the tea in cocktails, but using the infused leaves is also an interesting way of making tea cocktails. Filling a fine‐strainer with infused tea leaves and straining a cocktail through these leaves will result in amazing drinks as well.

A well‐known drink made famous by James Bond, the Vodka Martini, is a great example of a classic recipe that can benefit a lot from this special finish.

The Vodka Marteani

vodka marteani

• 90 ml vodka, 10 ml Noilly Prat, 3 dashes grapefruit bitters, infused leaves of Darjeeling.
• Add the first 3 ingredients to an ice‐filled mixer glass and stir for 30 seconds.
• Strain through the tea leaves into a pre‐chilled martini glass.
• Spray with an orange zest.

Brewing your tea
So tea can be used both hot and cold in your cocktail. Hot, strong‐brewed tea in a large glass completely filled with ice cubes will turn into an iced tea within minutes, so hot tea can be used for both hot and cold drinks. Proper brewing is obviously very important, as well as using the best water available. Please note again that when you’re using hot tea for a cold drink as described above, you make sure you prepare a strong brew. By adding the ice afterwards a part will obviously dilute so you need to brew your tea a bit stronger than usual.

  Black tea Oolong tea Green tea
Light brew 3 minutes 3 minutes 1.5 minutes
Medium brew 4 minutes 4 minutes 2 minutes
Strong brew 3 minutes 3 minutes 2.5 minutes
   
   

For all the tea’s used in the cocktail recipes I’ve measured 2 grams of tea per 200 ml of water for stronger teas, and 2.5 grams of tea per 200 ml of water for lighter teas. This is just an easy way of standardizing measurements, of course I advise you to try and find your own measurements to brew perfect tea for your cocktail.
There is another interesting way of brewing white, green and oolong tea called “cold‐brewing”.

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Instead of using boiled water to brew the tea, use the clearest, chilled spring water available. Just open the bottle, add the tea (for a 1 litre bottle use 10 – 12,5 grams of Ceylon silvertips or Jasmine green tea) and put the bottle for 12 hours in the refrigerator. Strain the tea afterwards and you’ll be amazed by the delicate taste that is very different from brewing with hot water.

Recipes & Methods.

Earl Grey Martini

Glass type: Martini
Ingredients
• 90 ml Dilmah Earl Grey
• 10 ml apple juice
• 10 ml lavender syrup
• Fresh lime squeeze
Method
• Add all ingredients to an ice‐filled cocktail shaker
• Shake vigorously for 12 seconds
• Strain into a pre‐chilled martini glass
• Garnish with an apple fan

Ceylon Old‐Fashioned
Glass type: Old‐Fashioned
Ingredients
• 40 ml Dilmah First Ceylon Souchon
• 40 ml Remy Martin V.S.O.P.
• 15 ml orange & cinnamon syrup
• 1 dash of angostura bitters
• Zest of orange

Method
• Add two ice cubes, 1 dash of angostura bitters and the syrup to the glass and stir for 20
seconds
• Add two ice cubes, 10 ml of tea and 10 ml of cognac and stir for 20 seconds
• Repeat previous step three times more
• Garnish with an orange zest

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Moji‐tea
Glass type: Highball
Ingredients
• 50 ml Dilmah Single estate Darjeeling
• 50 ml Dilmah Pure Peppermint
• 12 mint leaves
• 20 ml of sugar syrup
• 10 ml of lime juice
• 1 barspoon of fine white sugar
Method
• Add the sugar, lime juice, mint leaves and the syrup to the highball and muddle gently
• Add one scoop of crushed ice and the Darjeeling tea and stir
• Fill up the glass with crushed ice and add the peppermint tea
• Garnish with a sprig of mint, a lime wedge and some loose leaf tea

 

Jasmine Cooler
Glass type: Sling
Ingredients
• 120 ml Dilmah Jasmine green tea
• 40 ml Tanqueray gin
• 15 ml orange syrup
• 5 ml fresh lime juice
Method
• Add the last three ingredients to an ice‐filled shaker and shake vigorously for 12 seconds
• Strain into an ice‐filled sling and top up with the jasmine green tea
• Garnish with some fresh jasmine flowers and a lime wedge

 

Local Hero
Glass type: Martini
Ingredients
• 40 ml Dilmah Supreme Ceylon
• 40 ml KetelOne Vodka
• 20 ml Puree of Mango
• 10 ml chilli & coconut syrup
• Fresh lime squeeze
Method
• Add all ingredients to an ice‐filled shaker and shake vigorously for 12 seconds
• Strain into a pre‐chilled martini glass
• Garnish with some loose tea leaves

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I hope you found this post as informative as I did! I had a great time learning and watching Robert as he brewed his magic. About his concoctions, Schinkel has this to say, “The first two ingredients in my drinks are passion and a warm welcome.”

Well, I don’t see how any other ingredients could triumph over those! 😀

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World Gourmet Festival 2012 @ Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok
155 Rajadamri Road, 10330 Bangkok, Thailand
Tel. +66 2 126-8866 Fax. +66 2 253-9195
Website: http://www.fourseasons.com/bangkok/