Boozy tea party cocktails!
Now, when I think of the words Britain, vintage and food the image instantly conjured is one of mismatched crockery, flowery tea cups, sweet little sandwiches, twee cupcakes and, of course, a good cup of tea. It is the quintessential tea party however, in my mind, it always seem a little less high society and a little more Madhatter and March Hare! Tea parties, or high tea, served in the afternoon in between lunch and dinner in a lady’s parlour with a few of her friends began as a solitary snack for Anne, the Duchess of Bedford around 1804 – she simply needed something light to stave off the mid-afternoon munchies – but by the late eighteen hundreds, they had transformed into a social affair amongst friends. Nowadays, however, when we attempt to recreate tea party kitsch at home it isn’t nineteenth century dresses we’re squeezing into but instead donning flowery tea dresses, rouge lipstick and intricately tied head scarves; we pay homage to the 1950s, when the rationing of sugar, butter, eggs and, perhaps most importantly, tea was ceased and suddenly food could become something fun and frivolous once more. Recently I decided to have a go and throw a tea party of my own. But as I am one of the those anomalies who hates English breakfast tea and couldn’t care less for a soggy cucumber sandwich I knew my tea party needed a little twist…a little twist of gin, that is. I think the idea of holding a boozy little high tea is an excellently cute and intimate way to celebrate (birthdays, engagements….days ending in Y) with a small group of friends whilst looking fabulously vintage. I served two of my delicious cocktails, More Earl Gray, Vicar? and the Sourpuss, and accompanied them with a gorgeous plate of lemon cupcakes. Now, of course you can have the iconic cucumber sandwiches (but for goodness sake, add a little cream cheese and a few chilli flakes) and mini quiches (pancetta, stilton and apple, please!) but, really, what’s more darling than a cup of tea and a piece of cake?
More Earl Grey, Vicar?
150ml Earl Grey tea infused gin
50ml elderflower cordial
The juice of 1 lemon
150ml grapefruit juice
The juice of one lime
Fill half a teapot with ice and add in all the ingredients except the tonic water. Muddle together and pour into your teacups up to the half way point then top up with tonic (perhaps keep this in a milk jug on the table!) and pop in a slice of lemon or lime to decorate and enjoy!
Written for Britain does Vintage.