There is an interesting synergy starting to happen between the specialty coffee and cocktail worlds. With coffee professionals in pursuit of single-origin beans that reflect terroir, and bartenders seeking out pure ingredients for their recipes, it's only natural these two beverage focused industries would overlap.
For those not familiar, coffee is the seed of a fruit. The peel of the coffee fruit is called cascara. Cascara is typically discarded in processing, but it's starting to gain popularity in specialty coffee circles as a tea. Since cascara is naturally sweet and lacks typical coffee bitterness, it offers a new and exciting coffee-related avenue for baristas and bartenders to explore.
I am so excited to share this cascara cocktail collaboration and interview with Kyle Jones of Young's Fine Wine. Young's is a boutique wine and spirit importer and distributor based out of Nassau, Bahamas. Kyle Jones, who directs their extensive cocktail program, crafted the High Tea to feature cascara iced tea. Hope you enjoy!
tLBCC: Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
Kyle Jones: I started bar tending in Savannah, Georgia at The Lady and Sons Restaurant and Stogies. Shortly after, I moved to NYC where I became very involved in the cocktail world at Jean Georges Spice Market. Currently I create cocktail menus for restaurants in The Bahamas as well as train bar staff, help set up bar equipment, and placement in new bars. Some of the places I have worked with locally are: The Island House, Shima, Mahogany House, Kamalame Cay, Olives Meze Grill, Grand Hyatt and Rosewood Hotel.
tLBCC: Can you explain a little bit about this cocktail you created to feature the cascara tea? How would you describe it’s flavor profile?
Kyle Jones: I love using tea in my cocktails. Whether it's infusing earl grey into my gin or jasmine tea into a simple syrup, it is a great subtle flavor that people know and are excited to taste in a different way than they are used to. The cascara tea is unique in that it has a both a tea flavor and a subtle, back-end taste of coffee.
Using gin really enhances the botanical qualities of the dried coffee cherry, and the egg white serves as a way to create a creamy and foamy texture. A good balance of acidity with the lemon and the simple syrup is important to make sure all of the ingredients are harmonious.
tLBCC: You chose to feature Portobello Road Gin and Scrappy's Bitters, is there anything that stands out about these companies/brands that we should know?
Kyle Jones: I love Portobello Road because of its heavy botanical aromas. It is said to be inspired by the classic aromas of England's country gardens. It is not too heavy handed on the juniper which creates a little more mellow tasting gin. This allows it to blend well with the other subtle flavors introduced into the cocktail.
As for Scrappy’s, I just don’t think there is a better bitter on the market. To continue with the botanical theme, the lavender bitters fit so well with any tea based cocktail that it was a natural choice. I love earthy ingredients.
- 2 oz Iced Cascara Tea
- 1 1/2 oz Portobello Road Gin
- 3/4 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon
- 3/4 oz Simple Syrup
- 3 dashes Scrappy's Lavender Bitters
- 1 egg white
- Add all ingredients into shaking tin with no ice.
- Dry shake for 1 minute because you need the egg whites to coagulate and form that frothy texture—think of a baker whisking for a meringue.
- Once shaken, add ice to shaker and shake again.
- Double strain through a mesh strainer, being sure to keep shaking after liquid is dispensed to get the remnants of the foam to top the cocktail.
- Garnish with lemon twist and edible flower.
tLBCC: In what setting would you serve a High Tea?
Kyle Jones: This type of cocktail can be served anywhere but it would be great to have as an after dinner starter cocktail. Personally though, if places like The Connaught or Claridge’s would have this as an offering with High Tea I wouldn’t think twice!
tLBCC: Can you tell us a little bit about this gorgeous mustache cup?
Kyle Jones: These are some of my favorite barware. I first was served a cocktail in a mustache cup at the greatest bar in the world, The Dead Rabbit. But don’t take my word for it—the awards for Best U.S. Bar, and a second place finish for Best Bar in the World should help prove that.
The mustache cup was invented around the 1860s and was designed to allow gentleman to drink liquids without their mustaches getting wet or stained. Mustache molding wax was also problematic at tea time. The hot tea would melt the wax and create a “bad hair day.” Wax would also drip into the tea.
I love having these on hand for cocktails—not only for their beautiful presentation—they make a great conversation piece.
tLBCC: Out of curiosity, if you didn’t use eggs, is there another ingredient you could substitute to give that foamy texture?
Kyle Jones: You can use egg-free hydrocolloids that are made to mimic the egg foam in products such as Versawhip or Methylcellulose. Or if you are scared of those long names, you can always try and use Agar Agar which is a seaweed based gelatin.
You can also add a little touch of pineapple juice as that froths, but now you are talking about incorporating more than just texture—you will be including a strong taste. I tend to stay away from that. Check out this site, it's a great resource for more information.