A fun new off-menu spring cocktail has just sprung up at Vesper lobby bar in The Cosmopolitan along with the season’s first tender shoots and buds. The Botanist (market price) arrives in its constituent components on a slate and comes with directions: First, drop the proffered passion fruit strawberry tea pod into the provided kettle of hot water and cover. Wait 2-3 minutes and squeal with delight as it doubles—no, triples!—in size and satisfyingly “blooms.”
Next, strain the tea into a separate glass to stop the brewing process, lest the tea should turn bitter. (Pro tip: Keep the pod in cold water and you can get a few more brews out of it within 24 hours!) Now, pour about ¾ of the composed cocktail base over the stack of Kold-Draft Ice—it’s a blend of The Botanist Islay Dry Gin, lemon juice, Velvet Falernum and house-made pink peppercorn strawberry shrub. Finally, top the cocktail with the cooled tea to taste. You’ll get about 1.5 drinks out of this one, plus a little tea to try on its own. School’s in session—go with it!
The final result is a long, cool, easy-drinking delight. This choose-your-own-cocktail-adventure is the brainchild of Jason McIntire—a Day One Vesper barman (the last of his kind)—and Tore Kragerud, Nevada’s key account manager at Remy Cointreau USA. Kragerud approached McIntire in 2016 about incorporating his portfolio’s hand-crafted Scottish gin into a tea cocktail with Blooming Tea pods. “I probably tried 30 different cocktail recipes,” McIntire says. “Either the tea wasn’t strong enough or it was actually too strong … This one just turned out the best, tasted the best.”
Oh, and it does. Pinkies up, elbows off the bar, kids.