Here, we learn how to make the tea-based Moon Gate cocktail, a smoky-flavored rye sour that has consistently been the restaurant’s best-selling drink. Anchored by spicy notes from the rye base and a hint of smoke from the lapsang souchong tea, the drink’s flavors are brightened with tart lemon juice.
Making the Lapsang Souchong syrup may take a small amount of extra time, but once it’s made it keeps for about a month, and you can also use it in the False Travels cocktail as well.
1.5 oz Old Overholt rye
.5 oz Mugi Shochu (such as Mizu Barley, or lower-proof shochu like Takara Mugi)
.75 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
.75 Lapsang Souchong tea syrup (see below)
.25 oz Kronan Swedish Punsch
Shake and serve on the rocks with a 2-inch ice cube.
Garnish with a lemon wheel.
Lapsang Souchong syrup:
2 cups white sugar
2 cups water
1/2 cup of loose Lapsang Souchong tea, packed
approx. 2 tsp of green cardamom seeds (or approx. 30 green cardamom pods)
1. If using cardamom pods, throw them into a pan and lightly toast them. After they puff up just a little and you allow them to cool, break up the pods and separate the seeds from the casings.
If you’re using seeds, also toast in the pan, but the seeds will require extra care in order to keep them from toasting up too much.
2. Using a grinder, finely pulverize the seeds and set the powder aside.
3. Set the water onto a stovetop until simmering.
4. Add the tea leaves into the water, and let simmer for about three minutes.
5. Add the cardamom powder and stir in thoroughly.
6. Add the sugar and stir over heat until completely dissolved.
7. Take the mixture off heat, and let it sit to cool for about 20-30 minutes.
8. Take a mesh strainer, and strain the mixture through it. Use gloves or a spoon to press down on the strained leaves to squeeze out any residual liquid still present. Make sure no tea leaves are present in the final syrup.
(Keeps, refrigerated, for about one month)