Leslie Goellner, proprietor of The Antler Room with her husband and co-owner, Nick Goellner, likes to keep things simple, so she doesn’t name any of the restaurant’s cocktails. “I think most names are just kind of cheesy and it’s hard to come up with names that have relevance to the drink. I just list the ingredients and people order based on the gin cocktail, the rum cocktail etc. This one usually just gets called the Earl Grey gin,” Goellner says.
The inspiration for the drink was the hot tea they serve in the restaurant. They noticed that every time they opened the tin of Earl Grey tea leaves, someone would remark about how amazing it smelled. The tea comes from In Pursuit of Tea in New York. “The owner of the business is just a really sweet guy who has a passion for tea and wanted to pursue it,” says Goellner. “And at the end of the day, you truly can taste when passion is a part of the process.”
The customers’ passion for the cocktail has kept it on the menu. A twist on the classic Bee’s Knees, it’s light, refreshing, and very easy drinking. “It was supposed to be just an early spring drink, but everyone loves it and keeps wanting it, so I keep making it. There are a lot of different ways to use Earl Grey in cocktails, but all of them seem to have way too many unnecessary ingredients. It tastes great with just three,” Goellner says. I think you’ll agree.
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake ingredients, strain into Nick and Nora glass or small martini glass or coupe. Goellner doesn’t usually use garnishes as most of them are inedible and get tossed, but you could do a lemon twist if you wanted to make it prettier.
Recipe Notes: At the Antler Room, they add 2 tablespoons of loose-leaf Earl Grey tea (preferably from In Pursuit of Tea) to one 750ml bottle of dry London gin. Let the infusion sit overnight and then strain it off. (Of course you could half the amounts if you don’t want to commit an entire bottle of gin to one cocktail—but it is summer and you and your friends might be thirsty.) The lavender syrup is made by adding lavender in a one-to-one ratio of sugar and water: 2 cups water, 2 cups sugar, 2 teaspoons dried lavender. Combine the ingredients, let them come to a boil and then simmer for a bit. Allow to cool, then strain the lavender from syrup. Keep refrigerated.