Monday, July 5, 2010

wu wei milk punch

A. 500 mL Dry Gin (16 2/3 oz Bombay Dry)
Zest of 1/2 Lemon
4 sprig Mint
B. 11 oz Wu Wei Tea Syrup (1 Wu Wei from MEM Tea Co.:1 sugar)
5 oz Lemon Juice
C. 11 oz Whole Milk

1. In a large bowl, add gin, zest, and mint from "A". Lightly muddle mint, and let infuse for 1 hour.
2. Make Wu Wei tea syrup by adding a large tbsp of Wu Wei tea to 8 oz of boiling hot water. Let infuse for 5-6 minutes and remove tea ball or strain. Add in 8 oz of sugar and stir until dissolved.
3. After the hour infusion, add lemon juice and 11 oz of tea syrup (recipe makes a little more than that) from "B". Remove mint sprigs.
4. Slowly heat milk from "C" in a sauce pan to 180°F (or until the first signs of a boil if you lack a thermometer) with occasional stirring. Pour hot milk into the bowl containing the gin, juice, and tea syrup.
5. Stir and leave for 15-20 minutes until the milk is fully curdled. Strain through a tea towel to remove curds and zest. An optional second filtering step through a coffee filter can be done (time consuming). I did it since the tea towel let through a lot of particulate matter. Store in capped bottles. Makes around 1 liter.
6. Cool punch in fridge. Keeps almost indefinitely when refrigerated. Serve in glasses or punch cups.

On Saturday night (I'm skipping ahead of my queue since this recipe was requested), we attended a small gathering. Since I knew that one of the hosts was a big fan of tea, I decided to make a tisane punch using Wu Wei. Wu Wei is a Chinese blend of 7 herbs; besides a rich bounty of flavors, Wu Wei also contains hibiscus flower which donates a wonderful red hue. To pair with it, I figured that the herbal complexity of gin would work. The combination of tea and lemon seemed rather natural, and before I knew it, I had three quarters of a Flapper Jane albeit with a more robust gin and no Peychaud's Bitters. Fresh mint from the garden added a small element of fresh clean greenness to the drink, and lemon zest added a hint of citrus bitterness to the mix.

I stopped there with the ingredients with the mantra of keep it simple. It was one of the simplest milk punches I have ever made, but one of the most full flavored. Having an herbal tea with seven components and a spirit with even more than that sure did help. I was quite surprised that even self-proclaimed gin haters at the party were finishing their cups and asking for the recipe.


JB said...

Thank you!
It was, in fact, really tasty.


Ryan said...

Where can you get the wu wei tea?

Also, a funny note regarding the name.. it seems like a quick googling indicates that the tea is probably named for the concept "wúwéi" in Daoist doctrine of action by inaction. However, the homophonous "wú​wèi​" translates as tastelessness. The punch sounds far from tasteless though!

frederic said...

If you were in the Boston area, MEM Tea Importers makes the one I use. I bought mine at the Sherman Market in Union Square, Somerville.

A google search will get you places online to get it and you should be able to find it a place with a good tea selection.

Wu Wei apparently translates to "peaceable energy." I am no linguist and only a tea neophyte. But I do know that the stuff is tasty and rather pretty in color.