Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tea vodka: And the winner is ... dessert!

Two days in, and the tea infusions were ready for a full taste test. Late Sunday, the color was just coming on in each jar, and the contents were still straight vodka. Monday, the flavors were there, but the vodka was still prevalent. Tonight, the tea sprang to life in each spoon. Worried about bitterness getting the best of me (as I am in life and work every day ...), I pulled ’em, filtered ’em (two passes with a cheesecloth) and poured three cordials ...

Here are the tasting results:

The green (Japanese Kabusecha) was sprightly. Lots of tea in the nose, and a ton of distinct, fresh green tea flavor in the finish, with a persistent aftertaste. In between, in the mouth, mostly vodka and sugar. Third and fourth tastes later grew on me some more, though the astringency grew a little, too. Daniel — the poor spouse roped into the tasting (and someone who claims not to like the taste of tea one bit) — said, "I don't hate it." That, folks, is a triumph.

The black (Chinese Keemun) was a dud. No tea smell, no tea taste, no tea aftertaste. Just alcohol and sugar. The tea didn't come through at all, so I probably should have let this steep much longer. Though I hesitate, because the one thing that did scream through on the first taste was a pile of tannins. Difficult, disappointing.

The winner was the Chocolate Mint Truffle (opened Mighty Leaf bags). In the beginning, a delicious, rich chocolatey odor, with some muscle. In the mouth, a light sweetness and a fluorescence of mint around the edges. Then the chocolate settles in with the sweetness. It's a lovely marriage, and the lingering, velvety chocolate aftertatse is the honeymoon. Daniel kept drinking this one. We'll definitely add this to the regular stable.

Meanwhile, the big batch of limoncello calmly goes about its business, awaiting a mid-May unveiling, like a time-bomb set to explode with ... spring!

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