It is hard to write anything that ignores or in any way minimizes the context of this ongoing pandemic and economic catastrophe, the likes of which nearly all of us have never experienced before. I mention it every time, whether I am joking-not-joking about what might be a hopeless future, or using my coping mechanisms in other ways. I am a walking, talking coping mechanism. I am sort of a drag in that way, but you know what I am really good at besides making delicious cocktails? Comfort and self-care.
The other day I was remembering back to the before-time, when we could go out with no worries about infecting a loved one with a deadly disease. I was at Soakology for a much-needed stress-relieving foot rub. It takes a lot for me to allow anyone, let alone strangers, to touch me, especially on my hands and feet, due to my sensory issues, trust issues, confidence issues, and probably some other issues that only bubbled up recently. But I was given a gift card, and I hate to let anything like that go to waste.
I drank a hot, creamy beverage they had on their menu — a menu built around comfort — called London Fog, while getting the foot rub. Aside from the anxiety, the massage felt great, but it was this latte that I recalled with the greatest fondness. It was Earl Grey tea (one of my favorites, next to chai, of course) with lavender-infused steamed milk. I wanted to remember exactly how it tasted, because I wanted to make it at home.
I finally made my variation (which includes vodka) during one of last month’s gray, rainy days. This day was unusually dark, with the occasional strobe of lightning cutting through, and the heavy storm finally gave way to one of the most vivid and triumphant rainbows I’ve ever seen. We don’t always need the darkness to find comfort, but I think either of these warm latte concoctions can be a bright rainbow at the end of a particularly foreboding time.
The Earl of London
4 oz milk
2 Earl Grey tea bags
2 oz vodka
1 oz Royal Rose Lavender Lemon Simple Syrup
Steep the tea bags in the vodka for 5 minutes and strain into a glass. Simmer the milk and simple syrup in a saucepan over gentle-to-simmering heat while whisking vigorously. Pour into the glass of infused vodka. Garnish with candied lavender and/or whipped cream if you’d like to make it a little more sweet.
The Gupta Princess
2 oz Irish cream liqueur
2 oz vanilla-flavored vodka
4 oz hot water
1 chai tea bag
sugar-spice rim (mix of ground cardamom, cinnamon, clove, and sugar)
Steep tea bag in a mug of hot water. Add Irish cream and vanilla vodka to the mug. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon or the sugar-spice rimmer.