While it might be something you’ve never even heard of before, Tea Cocktails are starting to really be a thing here in Vancouver.
Basically, brewed tea is used as a mix with the spirits and other ingredients to create a lively, balanced cocktail.
Tea adds a nice dimension to cocktails–it’s never one-note, and the variety of different types of teas and flavours is almost unending.
Plus, you can feel like you’re drinking a slightly healthier cocktail. Okay, well, not really. But a delicious-tasting cocktail is justification and reward in its own right, as far as I’m concerned!
Today’s recipe comes from Margot Baloro, Sommelier at Forage in Vancouver’s West End. Forage is one of my fave spots in the city. Partly because it’s just blocks from my house, and partly because they share my values of creating food that is local, sustainable, and seasonal. Oh–and it’s inventive and delicious, too! Remember that time Chef Chris Whittaker made a dinner entirely out of fermented foods? Or what about his amazing scones? Yes. I’m a fan.
This cocktail would be great for brunch. It’s a little like a fruity mimosa. Plus–tea. People drink tea for breakfast, right?
It’s a little earthy, so it’s great for the fall, and it is topped with sparkling wine, which always makes you feel festive, no matter what time of the day. It’s bright and floral and fruity, and would be perfect for your next girl’s night or book club meeting.
As a food blogger, I draw inspiration from a myriad of sources; cooking shows I watch on TV, other food blogs, cookbooks, and food I eat at restaurants and friend’s houses. Sometimes, one recipe can be inspired by more than one thing, and that’s where we find ourselves today.
I tried this dessert a few months back at The Wellness Show. It was at the booth of Julie O’Brien and Richard Climenhage, who are the authors of Fresh & Fermented: 85 Delicious Ways to Make Fermented Carrots, Kraut, and Kimchi Part of Every Meal. They are all about fermenting, and over the last few months, I’ve been pretty obsessed with it, as well. I got a copy of Julie and Richard’s cookbook, and have been making things from it over the past few months. But those things have been things like kimchi and pickles. I’d never even considered before the possibility of turning a fermented vegetable into a dessert.
A selection of the amazing dishes at the Forage Ferments dinner.
I was pretty excited to get invited to a dinner at Forage last week. Forage is one of my absolute favourite restaurants in the city–their values of cooking local and seasonal align with mine, and additionally, Chris Whittaker is a fabulous chef. The dinner was called Forage Ferments, and it was a collaboration between Chris and Todd Graham of Hand Taste Ferments. Todd and Chris met a while back while Todd was head brewmaster at R&B, and the collaborated with 6 different Vancouver chefs (including Chris) to create their own beers. Todd has since moved on to fermenting all things of all kinds, full time, not just hops and barley.
The dinner was exciting and inventive. I love eating things I’ve never had before, and this dinner was filled with cool new things, like miso paste made with local chickpeas instead of soybeans (which are primarily grown in Asia), kimchi devilled eggs, caesar salad dressing made with herring from Quadra Island in the place of anchovies, hay-smoked confit potatoes and an ice cream made with the aforementioned chickpea miso.
Forage sent me home with a jar of sauerkraut, so, I decided to take inspiration from the Forage Ferments dinner and use a fermented food in a place you’d never thing to look for it: dessert.
This is yummy. It’s lemony, but not too tart, and the cream cheese adds a rich mouth-feel and also amps up the tartness. Now, you might be wondering where the kraut comes in. Well, you chop it up fine and add it to the mousse at the end, along with a little coconut. It adds a bit of a crunchy texture to the mousse, but if anyone asks, you can just say it’s shredded coconut. Trust me, they won’t be able to tell the difference, it’s that good.
I served mine in tart shells, but it would make an equally good parfait, over top of crumbled cookies, perhaps, or cake, and layered between whipped cream or coconut cream.
Delicious! Plus all the benefits of sneaking in a fermented food.
Lemon Mousse made with Sauerkraut
(recipe courtesy of Fresh & Fermented)
2 tbsp butter
zest of one lemon
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 tbsp lemon juice (or juice of one large lemon)
pinch of salt
1/3 cup sauerkraut
6 oz cream cheese (room temp)
1 tbsp shredded coconut, toasted
NOTE: you can skip this step entirely and buy store-bought lemon curd if you like, or you can use a different recipe.
In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the lemon zest and sugar, and beat again. Add the egg, beat. Finally add the lemon juice and salt, and beat one last time.
Place the lemon mixture into a small saucepan, and turn on low-medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring up to a boil, and allow to thicken. You will know it’s done when it coats the back of a spoon, and remains apart when you swipe a finger though it. Remove from heat, and place in the fridge to cool.
Take the sauerkraut out of the jar with a fork, allowing the brine to drain off. Place into a food processor, and whiz well to chop finely. Add the cream cheese, and combine the two well. Finally, fold in the cooled lemon curd.
Serve in a tart or pie shell, or in dessert glass, garnished with toasted coconut.