I’d been on the search for Russian Caravan tea ever since reading about a cocktail that incorporates it with elderflower liquor and bourbon. It sounded so interesting!
Apparently Russian caravan tea has run out of favor, somewhat. I’ve learned that a once-widely distributed commercial variety has been discontinued, or dropped by retailers. I finally found a lapsang souchang, which has the black smoked tea qualities of a Russian caravan tea. The black tea is smoked in bamboo smokers over pine wood. Really intense stuff.
The smokiness was amazing when we first opened it. It smelled like an island scotch. It had a wonderful dense, peat-smoke aroma. Chris immediately wanted to try it brewed, which is amazing, considering it’s hot out and he actually requested hot tea. I set about brewing some immediately. Delicious with milk and honey.
Alas, the cocktail failed to impress. The smokey flavor was delicious and strong, and worked well with the bourbon, but, as Chris put it, it needs a bitter element. All told, I’m not upset as this adventure has led us to smoked tea. It’s really phenomenal how it retains its pungency!