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Rooibos Martini | Step Aside, Earl Grey MarTEAni!

Classic espresso martini besides a caffeine free rooibos martini

Hi, Friends of Cocktails. The Espresso Martini is one of the most popular cocktails, but let’s face it, it’s not always the most appropriate time to drink it, with all the caffeine and all… well, not in the Cocktail Time Studio, it’s always 5 o’clock here, but you know what I mean. So unless you’re a model from the 80’s, who needs a little extra boost during a night out, it’s great to know there’s an alternative. So today we’ll make a Rooibos version of the Espresso Martini, using a homemade Rooibos Liqueur, rooibos tea and served from a nitro siphon, for that creamy texture.

You may know that I’ve made a few variations of the Espresso Martini already, going all the way back to the second episode on the channel. That time I made it with reposado tequila, which I still think is the best version of this classic cocktail, but we’ve come a long way since then. A year ago I also made two rum variations, one of them being a Cold-brew Nitrotini, built and served similarly to what we’ll do today. But to see how the Rooibos Martini evolved from the Espresso Martini we can start with the classic ingredients.

We’re keeping the vodka this time, but espresso will be swapped with rooibos tea, which also substitutes the dilution that’s added from shaking with ice. The coffee liqueur will be replaced with our homemade Rooibos Liqueur, and for the sweet component we’re not using rich syrup but sweet vermouth. To add a bit of bitterness I’m going with orange bitters, and of course the saline solution needs no introduction if you’ve watched Cocktail Time before.

As for the gear, we won’t need a shaker, but an isi Nitro whip with two nitrous cartridges. So before we can make the cocktail let’s go over how I made the two rooibos ingredients, the liqueur and the tea.

hibiscus, dried orange peel, vodka, sugar, rooibos tea and a sous vide bag for the making of a homemade rooibos liqueur

Rooibos Liqueur

● 250mL (8.33oz) Vodka

● 100g Sugar

● 100g Water

● 4g Dried Orange Peels

● 1,6g Hibiscus

● 14g Rooibos

So into a sous vide bag we’re adding each ingredient, sealing it twice and placing it in a sous vide bath at 62°C or 143°F, for 1.5 hours. Rooibos tea comes in various flavors, so feel free to experiment here, and as a fun fact, rooibos makes herbal tea, since it’s not related to the tea plant so it’s very low in tannins and completely caffeine-free! Other flavors that also complement rooibos tea quite well are vanilla, apple, and chocolate, so feel free to experiment.

And just to make it clear, I tried both the classic infusion and the sous vide method, and I’ll show you both, but the sous vide method won by a significant margin. So once the sous vide is done,place it in an ice bath to cool down, then cut it open and strain it through a coffee filter. This will yield approximately 400mL of Rooibos Liqueur, with the final product containing 250 g of sugar per liter with an alcohol content of 25% ABV.

You can now bottle it, add a label, and that’s your Rooibos Liqueur done, but if you want to scale the recipe up or down, you can find a Calculator here on that you’ll want to check out. If however you don’t have a sous vide you can try the traditional cold infusion method. In that case infuse the vodka with 10 g of rooibos separately for about 24 hours, so the flavors have time to develop. A few hours before that passes, prepare the hot infusion of 100 grams of water, 4 g of rooibos, 4 g of orange peel and 1.6 g of crushed hibiscus, and let it infuse for about 5 minutes.

Now strain the infusion through a coffee filter and let it cool to room temperature, and once that happens we can strain out our rooibos-vodka infusion, through the same coffee filter that we used before. The only thing that needs to be added now is the sugar, so ombine our strained infusions with 100 grams of sugar, mix to dissolve and that’s it. If you want this to be clearer you can pass it through a coffee filter one more time. But we already have the sous vide version, so let’s move on.

For the cocktail we’ll also need some basic rooibos tea as well, so let’s make this quick.

Rooibos Tea

● 500mL (16.66oz) Water

● 5g Rooibos

In half a liter of boiling water add the rooibos tea and let it infuse for 6 minutes, then strain the tea and leave it cool. Once it gets to room temperature, place it in the fridge, as we want all of our ingredients, and even the siphon, to be as cold as possible. When making this we’re also not adding ice, but only our liquid ingredients, so it’s important for everything to be chilled.

So let’s make the Rooibos Martini, but keep in mind that the measurements are based on the size of my siphon, which is 1 liter, but later I’ll also give you single serve amounts as well, if you want to make it in a cocktail shaker.

Rooibos Martini (Nitro)

● 210mL (7oz) Vodka

● 180mL (6oz) Rooibos Liqueur

● 135mL (4.5oz) Sweet Vermouth

● 420mL (14oz) Rooibos Tea

● 16 drops 20% Saline Solution

● 16 dashes Orange Bitters

● 2 Nitrous Charges

To make this cocktail, it’s as simple as mixing the ingredients before pouring them into the iSi Nitro Whip siphon, which we’ll charge with a single Nitro Charge. I’ll follow the instructions on their website and shake this 8 times before charging with another nitro charger, for a more intense taste experience. Shake again, no instruction on how many times, so do as you will. To fully chill the cocktail, place the siphon in the fridge or an ice bath, and in the meantime I can quickly show you how to make a single serving in a cocktail shaker.

Rooibos Martini (shaken)

● 45mL (1.5oz) Vodka

● 37.5mL (1.25oz) Rooibos Liqueur

● 30mL (1oz) Sweet Vermouth

● 45mL (1.5oz) Strong Rooibos Tea*

● 2 drops 20% Saline Solution

● 2 dashes Orange Bitters

As we’re adding ice to this one, keep in mind that we’ll need a stronger tea to not dilute the flavors in our cocktail, so double the amount of rooibos for the same amount of water when brewing. Now shake hard with ice, double strain into a chilled Martini or Nick&Nora glass, add a cocktail cherry for garnish, and that’s it. Looks nice, right? But it’s hard to beat the cascading effect from a nitro batch - if you enjoy Guinness beer you know what I’m talking about.

Also, the siphon version is so easy to serve you might as well pour another one, so if you're hosting a cocktail party, this is a win-win. Add a cherry to both and toast with your friends, and now we can give it a try, cheers! Rooibos replaces coffee with cherry, nutty, and sweet vanilla notes. This is joined on the palate by a subtle peppery spice with orange, and herbal notes. It’s so good I don’t want to keep Sašo and Robi from enjoying it, so let's keep this short.

If you want to see them try the cocktail, as well as more behind the scenes content, check out our Patreon page! It helps support the creation of Cocktail Time, and it also allows you to join our Wall of Fame and claim a brick on our set, like David Byrne and Gerard Fortuna did. They’re now a part of the Cocktail Time set - thank you for your support. And speaking of support, today’s Bottom of the glass features a project that supports bartenders all around the world, plus an unboxing!

Broken Bartender is a project co-founded by Danil Nevsky, one of the most influential bartenders in the industry. On their website you’ll find awesome cocktail-themed pins, stickers, and even the world's tiniest shaker. Great gifts for anyone that loves cocktails, and the best part is that 10% of the sales goes to the Indie Bartender Fund, supporting bartender education worldwide - I think that’s what the kids call fire. Until next time, cheers, Friends of Cocktails.

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