As autumn hovers on the horizon, with its promise of cool days, endless sheet rain and balding trees, it’s more important than ever to cling somewhat desperately onto the vestiges of summer.
Freezing because you refuse to head indoors before 9pm? Fine. Forcing yourself to chow down your daily frozen treat, even as your teeth begin to chatter? Good. Making yourself a decidedly sunshiney cocktail in the hopes of luring the sun out from behind the clouds for one last hurrah? Not the actions of a desperate person. Fitting, we say. Fitting.
Which makes this Japanese-inspired cocktail from the folks over at London cocktail mecca Aqua Kyoto the perfect late summer sup. Fusing homemade camomile liqueur, liquorice tea syrup and potent gin botanicals, this punchy number is the perfect balance of sweet and herbaceous.
Inspired by the Aqua’s own Hanging Gardens of Kyoto installation – in partnership with Tanqueray No. TEN and cut flower florists Rebel Rebel – Calm Your Senses does exactly what it says on the tin: its earthy tones and classic gin, sugar and lemon blend feels decidedly reassuring, before the camomile and liquorice notes backhand you in the face for an uplifting finish.
“It’s kind of a twist on the White Lady,” says Nico Peratinos, bar manager at Aqua, referring to a once-classic cocktail developed in the early half of the 20th century by Harry MacElhone, bartender at London’s Ciro’s Club and Paris’ New York Bar. The sweet little number, particularly popular with well-to-do British men of the era, began life as a mind-boggling blend of Cointreau, crème de menthe and lemon juice, before MacElhone came to his senses and swapped out the menthol for the far more suitable gin.
His remix is a belter of a drink, the punch of the booze balanced out by the citrus spark and creamy egg whites. Here, Peratinos goes one step further, adding camomile and liquorice to the mix, augmenting the botanical heft of the Tanqueray No. TEN and adding some natural sweetness.
“The egg white gives the cocktail a creamy, smooth mouthfeel,” says Peratinos, “and the floral notes are reminiscent of the summer. Although it’s rich in flavour, it’s a pretty easy-going drink, perfect for this time of year.”
Calm Your Senses (Serves 2)
60ml Tanqueray No. TEN
30ml camomile liqueur
60ml liquorice syrup
40ml egg white
50ml fresh lemon juice
Handful of camomile buds
Handful liquorice roots
Handful of loose leaf tea
Shiso leaf, to garnish
“Tanqueray No. TEN is the perfect spirit for this drink, botanical and earthy. You can find shiso leaves for the garnish at any reputable Japanese food supplier.”
- Start by making the camomile liqueur. Add the camomile buds and the Pisco to a pan, before adding the sugar. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves, allow to cool completely, then decant into a sealed container. Leave to infuse until needed, then strain well before use.
- Next, make the liquorice syrup. In a pan, add the liquorice roots, tea, sugar and water and gently bring to the boil. Leave until the sugar is completely dissolved, then allow to cool. Strain well, and decant into a sealed container and put aside until needed.
- Using a hand blender, combine the Tanqueray No. TEN, camomile liqueur, liquorice syrup, egg whites and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker.
- Remove the blender, place the lid on the cocktail shaker and shake vigorously.
- Using both hands, strain the drink through a Hawthorne strainer (held flush with the opening of the shaker) and a small fine sieve positioned over your glass.
- Serve and enjoy.
From Delicious To Stratospheric
“This drink is as stratospheric as it gets.”