Cocktail: Earl Grey Sour

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 December, 2012, 10:53am

Despite the fashion for mixing whisky with green tea, I have never become accustomed to the idea of tea and alcohol going together.

More mixologists are experimenting with it as a flavouring, however, and Isobar bartender Jimmy Yung thought it might have something to contribute to a gin sour.

Isobar, in IFC, is noted for its harbour views and for its cocktails. The management calls it a "chill-out lounge bar", and it has an agreeable terrace to accommodate smokers.

On a sunny day, it's a good place for anybody to sit outside with a classic cocktail with an Italian twist. Signature drinks include the Green Dragon, made with lemon grass-infused gin, and the Italia Bloody Mary, made with Italian cherry tomatoes and fresh basil leaves.

Sours are a pre-Prohibition family of cocktails, recorded as having been around since at least the mid-19th century in the United States, and, according to Yung, they are particularly popular in Italy.

Most sours are made with egg white and lemon juice, and the quality of the lemons used probably has more to do with the success of this particular cocktail than the Earl Grey tea leaves. That's because, while the leaves colour the drink, they impart little taste to it beyond an aromatic hint of the bergamot with which the tea is scented.

Yung infuses Gordon's London Dry Gin - which is made in Scotland - with Earl Grey tea by the simple expedient of dropping a teabag into the bottle for three hours.

This is a refreshing, cool cocktail with a good sweet-and-sour balance dominated by the gin and lemon.


60ml of Earl Grey-infused gin

30ml lemon juice

20ml sugar syrup

1 barspoonful of the liquid from a jar of Maraschino cherries

White of one egg

1 twist of lemon


  • Combine all the ingredients except the lemon twist in a shaker, and shake without ice to produce a foam.
  • Add ice and shake again.
  • Pour into a chilled martini glass, and garnish with the lemon twist.
  • Rub lemon peel round the rim, sides and stem of the glass to produce an attractive lemon scent, which transfers to the drinker's fingers, and serve.