Lapsang Souchong tea is nothing short of superb when you’re after a smoky, earthy flavour reminiscent of pipe tobacco. It’s leathery. Rugged. And you can add it to liquor.
The black tea gets its smokiness from the pinewood fires lit to dry the tea leaves. The compounds responsible for its campfire-like aroma come from the pine smoke itself.
As you might expect, this infusion makes for a wonderful wash. Try it like this in a burnt martini—smoked tea infusion wash, an ounce of scotch and two ounces of dry gin.
I drink this as a simple vodka soda with lime. An ounce or so of the smoked tea infusion, club soda and lightly muddled lime wedge is refreshing; the smoke flavour becomes almost airy and your vodka soda suddenly becomes a drink others want to try.
The next time I play with this infusion it’ll be with either rye or bourbon. I’m thinking that scotch would be a bit much, given the ones that I tend to purchase are peaty in their own right.
Smoked Tea Infusion
In a clean Mason jar, add 1 teaspoon of Lapsang Souchong to 375ml of vodka. Allow to steep at room temperature for a minimum of 6 hours. Strain and keep indefinitely.
I recommend that you taste this infusion before straining. If you are new to Lapsang Souchong and smoky flavours, you will probably find it strong enough. Otherwise, I’ve found that you can get a bit more strength out of a longer steep.