All L.I.T. Up: Matcha, Matcha, Man

The Long Island is a very simple drink. That’s the reason it’s on so many menus in chain restaurants. It’s easy to make small modifications to make the drink unique. Also by touting a premium brand in their formula they can better advertise to customers. One thing has always bothered me, besides the ultra lousy well brands used to make them. There’s no damn tea in the drink, it’s colored with coke. I’ve always wanted to put the tea back in the L.I.T. Good thing I have a blog because I intend to do just that.

GreenBlade (1)
We’ve used tea before on the site, though unfortunately in the past it has tended to be a background player. The Haggerty’s Draught uses a syrup to add an herbal backing to other big flavors. However thanks to a Kurosawa marathon I stumbled across a great idea, matcha, a powdered Japanese green tea. It’s very strong, herbal, and quite trendy right now. Thanks to Japanese animation, samurai movies, and literature the tea ceremony isn’t so foreign to many nerds like me. So I decided to give it a try, and man does it add bold flavor to cocktails. However it’s color and high price make potent problems to deal with. On the bright side you can make it and keep it chilled in the fridge for a few days without much issue. The flavor does improve with some sweetness, but if you enjoy a rich herbal flavor you’ll likely enjoy it. I can see pairing it easily with gin, or using it in a bigger better syrup. In any case I’m certain you’ve never had a L.I.T like this. It’s delicious, bright, and strong potion for spring or summer with a herbaceous, and sour flavor.

GreenBlade (2)
Green Blade Tea
¾ oz Flor de Cana 4 white
¾ oz vodka
¾ oz Camus VS Cognac
¾ oz Bacardi Ron de Solera
¾ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz Clement Creole Shrubb
½ oz simple syrup
½ oz matcha tea (1 tsp powder to 1 oz hot water, make as instructed otherwise on package)
dash Angostura orange bitters

In a shaker tin combine ingredients and shake very well to combine. Pour into a footed pilsner and garnish with orange peel and pineapple leaves.

The aroma here is funky fresh, to date myself mightily. The orange peel and creole shrubb brighten the nose considerably while the matcha and white rum belt out some strong vegetal and herbal notes. The cognac and rum combo make a strong entrance and greet your palate with crisp orange notes. The lime and matcha slowly waft in after, with the matcha finishing strong but not in a way that overpowers. There’s a lot of room to play here. I spent three weeks swapping rums, syrups, and bitters around. Needless to say your gonna see a couple more matcha pieces from me this year. In the end I chose this one because it puts a high end spend on the L.I.T. While keeping some of those fresh, crisp, boozy notes a well made L.I.T can bring.

I hope we’ve shown this month that if made well you can redeem a Long Island. More than anything I believe that the framework is strong, you just need to spruce up the floor plan. In the end a Long Island teaches you one crucial Tiki skill, blending spirits. Construct a blend poorly and they won’t sing, they’ll riot. I’ve had to gas a few bad blends this month, but in the end I got some gold. What was your favorite iteration? What are your thoughts on the infamous L.I.T? Can this fun college skull crusher be redeemed? Until next time…

“You get Hammered America” – JFL


About JFL

Joey or JFL as he is known by friends is a culinary trained mixologist from the Heart of Dixie Birmingham, Alabama. From a weekly column in the St. Clair News Aegis to his own experiments online JFL never stops doing work on Tiki and Cocktails. When he's not studying all things spirit, wine, and beer he's pursuing his own odd interests such as cartoons, cheesy old horror movies, horror punk, hair metal, and hockey
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