Tea Mixology with Tony Galea

We got together with a local bartender to learn his secret for boozy tea infusions and to get his recipe for the delectable Darjeeling Cooler.

Poke around behind the counter at Jigger, Beaker & Glass and you might find yourself getting hungry: The bar’s supply includes such ingredients as chipotle peppers, blue cheese, organic eggs, mustard, maple syrup, or peanut butter. Lining the bar are bottles of hard-to-source liquors from France, Italy, Germany, China, and beyond, plus homemade concoctions like hemp flower syrup.

The wide palate of flavors and aromas to be found here is indicative of bartender and co-owner Tony Galea’s approach to mixology: Starting with the cocktail culture of the 1920s and 1930s as his inspiration, he then adds his own creative twists and culinary flourishes. The result: unforgettable libations like the Smoked Piggy, with bacon-washed gin, smoked porter, maple syrup, and orange bitters.

Another favorite ingredient in Tony’s repertoire: tea. “Tea is a really nice thing to play with. It’s really fun to try out different infusions. The flavors come through and it really adds a depth of flavor.”

To make his signature Darjeeling Cooler, he infuses gin with bright, aromatic Darjeeling tea leaves, which he then blends with homemade carrot syrup and lots of lime. (recipe below) It’s one of two tea cocktails served at Jigger, Beaker & Glass. His business partner, Yannick Marty, came up with the recipe for Mushashi’s Tea: bourbon, chestnut liqueur, rice milk, and matcha.

The process of devising a new cocktail is a mix of creativity, expertise, and intuition — trusting that certain tastes just go together. “Sometimes you know right away how it will taste,” says Tony. “It’s like cooking. When you’re making a pasta sauce, you just know what to add to make it taste good. Most bartenders are also good cooks.”

It’s an expertise that Tony has honed through many years of practice. He started bartending during a stint in Melbourne in his early 20s, and since moving to Berlin from his native London four and a half years ago, Tony has entrenched himself in the local mixology scene. Besides having worked at top bars all around town, he also ran The Antlered Bunny, a tiny and regularly packed cocktail spot that closed at the beginning of this year. He opened Jigger, Beaker & Glass in March, where he continues his focus on classic cocktails with a modern twist.

“For a lot of people that work in bars, it’s about the money. Happy hours and selling as much as you can,” says Tony. “But If you go down the path of classic cocktails, like the Sazerac or the Negroni, there’s a level of quality you’re aiming for.”

When in Berlin, visit Tony’s bar for yourself, or try his recipe below for the Darjeeling Cooler.

Gärtnerstr. 15,  Facebook Page

Darjeeling Cooler:

Add 3 tablespoons Queen’s Grace to 1 bottle gin. Infuse for 30 minutes to 1 hour and then strain.
Make the carrot syrup by blending 1 part carrot juice (freshly juiced, or store-bought) with 1 part sugar. Heat slowly on the stove, stirring until sugar dissolves, and then cool.
Measure into a cocktail shaker:
6 cL Darjeeling gin
3 cL carrot syrup
3 cL fresh lime juice
Shake with plenty ice, strain, serve with lime twist.

Queen's Grace

To mix up a Darjeeling Cooler, one must first have some Darjeeling. Infuse your gin with this first-flush tea for a bright bouquet of floral aromas.

Shop Now