“I think storytelling is a great addition to the cocktail world,” says Alessandro Nardini, venue manager at Fable. Perched on the 13th floor of the Greek Community Building in Melbourne’s CBD, Fable is a rooftop bar dedicated to Mediterranean-influenced food and cocktails – and storytelling.
“Usually in my menu you’ll find storytelling about history, about geography, about music and about legends as well,” says Nardini. “It’s from a tradition of stories at the dinner table, from generation to generation.”
At Fable, Nardini spins yarns (and makes cocktails) about myths and legends like the Fountain of Youth, as well as historical figures such as French revolutionary Robespierre. That balance of fact and fiction is the basis of his twist on the Long Island Iced Tea.
Like many classic cocktails, its true origins are unclear. One story suggests the drink originated from a cocktail contest on Long Island in the 1970s, but Nardini’s version goes a little further.
“It comes from the prohibition era when alcohol wasn’t allowed,” says Nardini. “People used to mix together any booze they had at home and add a dash of [cola to make it look] like a cup of tea. So people used to call it Long Island Iced Tea.” The deception – that the drink is just tea – belies the fact that the cocktail includes four spirits and a liqueur.
Nardini’s version wisely uses small quantities of each. While the tea comparison in the original comes from the colour of cola, Nardini opts for actual tea – in this case pomegranate – and Schweppes Lemonade to lend additional citrus notes.
“Ideally it [both] looks like tea and tastes like tea,” says Nardini. “[I] have the tea as an integral part of the cocktail itself.”
Built into a mixture of vodka, gin, triple sec, blanco tequila and white rum, Nardini steeps the pomegranate tea for a couple of minutes to imbue the spirits with a bright red hue, as well as add depth of flavour. “It brings a lot of berries and a bit of tartness to the spirits,” he says.
The other element to make ahead is honey water – equal parts honey and boiling water – to add depth. “Honey really warms up the flavour, because there’s a lot of tartness coming from the tea and from the citrus that we use in the cocktail,” says Nardini.
Here’s how to make Alessandro Nardini’s Schh…Iced Tea at home.
Alessandro Nardini’s Schh…Iced Tea
Makes 1 serving. Approx. 1.5 standard drinks.
10ml triple sec
10ml white rum
1 teabag pomegranate tea
15ml fresh lemon juice
10ml honey water
80ml Schweppes Lemonade
Lemon and maraschino cherry to garnish
Infuse the vodka, gin, triple sec, tequila and white rum with one teabag of pomegranate tea for 2-3 minutes then strain.
Add the vodka, gin, triple sec, tequila, white rum, fresh lemon juice and honey water to a shaker. Shake and fine strain into a Collins glass.
Top with Schweppes Lemonade and garnish with lemon and maraschino cherry.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Schweppes. See more Schweppes recipes. 18+ only. Please drink responsibly.