When I picked up The Royal We, I wasn't expecting to love it. I have a very mild interest in the contemporary monarchy (basically, what Kate Middleton is wearing, because SERIOUSLY, to have that wardrobe and figure!). And yet, I found myself at the airport absolutely unable to put the book down, despite never being able to focus on reading at the airport. When I got to New York City for BEA, all I could think about--aside from "where the hell is our AirBNB"--was "I NEED MORE." I was reading in bed every morning, despite my usual MO of getting up at the buttcrack of dawn and going out to explore. It was fun and charming, with plenty of emotional depth. So when we decided it should be February's FYA BC pick, well, I thought it deserved a cocktail!
This cocktail is basically a French 75 with a couple of twists. First, you infuse the gin with earl grey tea, then add lemon juice and an orange-vanilla simple syrup that adds sweetness as well as brings out the orange notes of the tea. If you prefer a drier cocktail, I'd use half of the recommended simple syrup to start.
THE ROYAL TEA
1 oz earl grey infused gin (method follows)
.75 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz orange vanilla simple syrup (recipe here), less if you prefer a drier cocktail
Rosebuds (from rosebud tea) or orange twist to garnish
Add gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup to a champagne flute. Top with champagne and garnish.
For best results, chill your ingredients ahead of time.
Earl Grey Infused Gin
For every one cup of gin, add two earl grey teabags (I used Stash) and let infuse for two hours. It will turn a deep amber brown (read: the color of regular tea), and the bottom near the tea bags will be the darkest. Don't worry: when you strain into a clean bottle, it will all even out.
This cocktail goes best with a "tea party" with your FYA book club. Don't have one? Join or start your own!